Superstar Mookie Betts is officially on the injured list again as of Wednesday. Betts was scratched from the lineup before Tuesday’s contest in Philadelphia. The reason? His ailing right hip.
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian discussed the news on Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney. Kurkjian remarked that even when Betts returns, the Dodgers might not be the same powerhouse squad.
“If Mookie Betts is hurt and Clayton Kershaw is as hurt perhaps as bad you [Olney] suggest, then they’re a different team.”
Mookie has slashed a respectable .277/.378/.521 this season, but has played in just 87 of the Dodgers 114 games this season (76%). Whether it’s his back, shoulder, or hip, Betts hasn’t been fully healthy all year.
The Impact of Betts in the Playoffs
Arguably the best player in the league, Betts’s clutch plays in the field and on the base paths were a big reason the Dodgers finally won that elusive title in 2020. It’s also a big reason that Kurkjian isn’t just penciling the Dodgers back into the Fall Classic.
“Mookie Betts was as big a reason as any that they won the World Series last year. He won two World Series games with his glove and his legs. If he’s not the same player because he’s not moving well enough with a bad hip, then yes, the Dodgers have their work cut out for them on every level to try and compete.”
Before the season began, Olney and Kurkjian both agreed that the Dodgers were destined for another World Series appearance. The team had more than enough starters, a retooled bullpen, and a loaded lineup featuring Betts in the leadoff spot. That was then, this is now.
The Dodgers still have plenty of talent on the roster to continue to win games while Mookie nurses his hip. Catching the Giants is still even a possibility.
There is no debate, however, that they’ll need Betts for another deep postseason run.