Dodgers News: Mookie Betts Focused On Braves, Not MVP Race With Ronald Acuña Jr.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves began one of the most anticipated series of the season on Thursday night, which featured the two top MVP candidates in the National League, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mookie Betts, carrying their teams to an exciting finish.

Acuña gave the Braves a sizable lead when he hit his 30th home run of the season in grand fashion. Acuña became the first player in MLB history with 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in the same season. The grand slam also provided the Braves with a 5-1 lead.

Acuña went 3-for-4 with four RBI, one home run, one run scored, one walk and one stolen base.

“Just look at his stats,” Betts said after the Dodgers’ 8-7 loss. “I think it’s self-explanatory how dynamic he is. He changed the game today.”

While Acuña had a signature MVP moment in the game, so did Betts as he finished off his other-worldly month of August with two more home runs. His first homer was a three-run shot that cut the Dodgers’ deficit to three and his second was a solo blast that pulled them within two.

Betts finished the game going 2-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored, four RBI and one walk.

The two both made significant cases as to why they should win the 2023 NL MVP Award, but Betts is focused beyond that.

“I’m not playing against Ronald Acuña. I’m playing against the Braves,” he said. “We’re trying to beat the Braves. He’s great, an awesome person, take absolutely nothing away from him. But I’m not playing against him.”

Although the Braves went up 7-1, the Dodgers battled back and had a chance to win before falling. Many anticipate the Dodgers and Braves to once again meet in the postseason, and the first game had an October baseball atmosphere.

“I think you’ve just got to kind of be in the atmosphere and feel it,” Betts said. “It was good. We started down big and we fought back. Gave ourselves a chance to win. That’s really all we can ask for. A hit there and we tie it up, and you never know what happens.”

Mookie Betts set Dodgers record in August

It’s difficult to overstate how impressive Betts was during August as he finished the month with a .455/.516/.839/1.355 batting. He also had 51 hits during his 28 games played in August, which set the L.A. Dodgers franchise record.

“I’m just swinging at good pitches,” Betts said. “All that doesn’t matter. We’ve got to win games. Personal accolades, it is what it is. We’ve got to win games and I’m just trying to do everything I can to help us win.”

Betts’ offensive production translated to success more often than not as the team won 24 games, which is the most in L.A. Dodgers history for one calendar month. They fell just short of the franchise record of 25 wins set by the Brooklyn Dodgers in July 1947 and August 1953.

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