The Los Angeles Dodgers, a team with a rich history of success, entered the 2023 postseason with high expectations. Having secured their 10th NL West crown in the last 11 seasons and boasting a roster featuring MVP-caliber players like Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, their fans anticipated a deep playoff run. However, the story took a different turn as they were swept by the 84-win Diamondbacks in the NLDS. This article will delve into the disappointing performance of Mookie Betts in the NLDS and analyze how the Dodgers’ star fell short when it mattered most.
The Dodgers’ Regular Season Dominance
The Dodgers’ regular season was marked by impressive achievements, including 100 wins and yet another NL West crown. Their consistency and excellence were unquestionable, underlining their status as one of the league’s top teams. However, their history of postseason heartbreaks continued, raising questions about their ability to perform when it matters most.
Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman: MVP-Caliber Players
Two standout performers for the Dodgers during the regular season were Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. Freeman, known for his incredible hitting abilities, provided significant contributions to the team’s success. Meanwhile, Betts, a highly regarded leadoff man, showcased his all-around skills with remarkable stats.
The NLDS Nightmare
The NLDS presented a stark contrast to the regular season success of Betts and Freeman. The two players, who were expected to shine in the playoffs, had a forgettable series against the Diamondbacks.
Game 1: A Slow Start
In Game 1 of the NLDS, the Dodgers faced a daunting challenge from the outset. Clayton Kershaw’s disastrous first inning set the tone for the series, but it’s important to note that the offense failed to support the pitching staff. Betts and Freeman combined for just one hit in this game, a tense infield hit by Freeman that required a replay review.
Games 2 and 3: Missed Opportunities
Games 2 and 3 were the Dodgers’ chances to turn the series around. However, the story remained the same. In pivotal moments, Betts and Freeman couldn’t deliver:
1. Game 2, Bottom of the Fifth: With the Dodgers trailing by two runs, Betts came to the plate with two runners on base. He hit into a fielder’s choice, and Freeman struck out, leaving two men on base.
2. Game 2, Seventh Inning: Betts reached base on an error to start the inning, but Freeman hit into a double play, squandering a crucial opportunity.
3. Game 3, Eighth Inning: Facing elimination, the Dodgers needed a spark. Kolton Wong drew a leadoff walk, but once again, Betts and Freeman failed to capitalize, both striking out.
Regular Season Brilliance Fades
During the regular season, Betts and Freeman had been shining stars. Betts led all position players in WAR with an outstanding .307/.408/.579 slash line and impressive statistics, positioning himself as a top candidate for NL MVP. Freeman, on the other hand, boasted an equally impressive .331/.410/.567 slash line and was set to finish high in NL MVP voting as well.
From Regular Season Heroes to Playoff Disappointment
The Dodgers’ playoff dreams were shattered as they were swept by the Diamondbacks. Betts and Freeman, who had been instrumental in the regular season, failed to replicate their success in the NLDS. Their lackluster performance when the team needed it most is a testament to the unpredictable nature of postseason baseball. The Dodgers and their fans can only hope that the next season will bring a different story and that these two MVP-caliber players will regain their regular-season brilliance in future playoff endeavors.