2023 NLDS: Mookie Betts & Freddie Freeman At Front Of Dodgers Offensive Struggles

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Following a 4-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers enter familiar territory as they head into Game 3 just one loss from elimination in the National League Division Series.

Pitching put them in a deep hole in Game 1, losing 11-2 behind Clayton Kershaw’s six-run first inning. Bobby Miller appeared to be headed for another repeat blunder after allowing three earn runs until manager Dave Roberts called on the bullpen, which went on to halt the Diamondbacks to one run over 7.1 innings pitched.

But the offense never stepped up. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman led the Dodgers in their regular season dominance, leading the offense to score a franchise record 900 runs for the first time since moving to Los Angeles.

However, they’ve been held to four runs in 18 postseason frames.

“All of us got to get going,” Betts said following Monday’s loss. “We had a couple opportunities and just didn’t cash it in. Me and Freddie, it’s kind of our role, and we’re not doing it. I take ownership in that. We’ve just got to figure out a way, man. No excuses.

“Nothing changes in the playoffs. It’s still the same situation. It’s just the playoffs. You can argue there’s a bunch of different things that change, but it’s still the same game. We’ve got to find a way to execute. There’s nothing else really to be said.”

Betts and Freeman have gone a combined 1-for-13 through two games of the NLDS, and their leadoff man has looked unsettled at the plate thus far.

“No. I’m not necessarily satisfied with anything,” Betts said. “They’ve got some good pitchers and they’re making it tough. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Got to tip your cap to them. They’re executing and doing a great job. We have to battle back and throw a punch at some point.”

The Dodgers aren’t completely done, as teams have climbed out of a 2-0 hole in the NLDS before, but with two games at Chase Field in Games 3 and 4, Betts’ time is running out to flip the switch. Some frustration and a push to turn the page was heard following Monday’s game.

“I’m not even thinking about me, man,” Betts said about his struggles. “So the me questions, no bueno. It’s just going to be focused on the Dodgers right now. We’re down 2-0 and we have to figure out a way to come back on Wednesday.”

What Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have to change

A large error with the approach that Betts and Freeman have shown thus far is not only the inability to get the big hit, but their in-between attack when at the plate.

The Dodgers have been successful throughout the regular season because of their consistent at-bats while making pitchers work, but capitalizing when the mistake pitch comes. Betts has jumped on a first pitch fastball, and even forced a starter to nibble around the plate until he issues a free pass.

But through a quick two games, Betts and Freeman have looked pedestrian, and the top-five MVP candidates have shown how fast a punch in the mouth can impact success in the postseason, including their conviction.

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