The Los Angeles Dodgers have battled back from a 3-1 deficit to force a winner-take-all Game 7 against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
“I think just being a resilient group,” Mookie Betts said of the Dodgers thus far staving off elimination in the NLCS. “Obviously we’ve been pitching well, swinging the bat better, playing good defense.
“It’s going to take that to get us to the World Series. We’ve got to do it one more time here today.”
A win would put L.A. in the World Series for a third time in the past four seasons and keep their hope alive of ending the franchise’s championship drought that would reach 32 years if they fall short in 2020.
The Dodgers went into the season among the World Series favorites in large part due to the arrival of Betts. Though, Betts and others with the organization have downplayed their title aspirations as hinging on one player.
Nevertheless, Betts quickly emerged as a leader in the Dodgers clubhouse and made his presence felt both in the field and at the plate. For the playoffs it’s been more of Betts’ defense that has resonated.
He’s been determined to contribute by any means, and with the Dodgers one win away from completing an impressive comeback, Betts again explained how he identifies with the Mamba Mentality made popular by the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant touted.
“I think it’s kind of second nature. The way he viewed a lot of things is kind of how I view,” Betts said. “Like he always said, ‘The job is not finished.’ It’s not. It’s Game 7 today and we have to go out there with that killer instinct and play to get to the World Series.”
For all his success and experience, the 2018 American League MVP has yet to play in a Game 7. Though, like many, it’s a scenario Betts envisioned as a child.
“When I was a kid, you do think, ‘3-2, bottom of the ninth, Game 7,’ but when you’re in the yard you get retries,” he said. “This time you don’t get a retry. It’s one game and you’ve got to put everything on the line.”
Second look at Anderson
Atlanta starting Ian Anderson in Game 7 marks the second time in a row the Dodgers will see a pitcher they faced earlier in the NLCS. Anderson issued five walks in Game 2 but allowed just one hit over four scoreless innings.
“That was our first time facing him, so we pretty much learned everything. He pitched well, got himself out of a couple jams, he’s got a plus-fastball, plus-changeup, good breaking ball,” Betts said.
“He’s got what it takes but we’ve got to find a way to scratch a couple runs and pitch well. You can game plan however you want. I’m sure he’s going to change up his game plan, or he may stick with the same. You just don’t know.
“That’s kind of the beauty of the game, you have to follow as the game goes.”
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