Mookie Betts Explains Approach When Batting Leadoff In Dodgers Lineup
Mookie Betts
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

Mookie Betts has spent the majority of his career hitting in the leadoff spot, and after some experimentation last year, that’s held true more times than not with the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup.

However, the Dodgers acquiring Trea Turner at the trade deadline this season brought about change as Betts was dropped down to batting third. Manager Dave Roberts noted at the time there were multiple ways he could set the lineup because of the versatility Betts and Turner provide.

Although L.A. has continued to win games at a high rate over the past few weeks, the offense has struggled to generate much consistency. So it prompted Roberts to move Betts back into the leadoff spot of the Dodgers lineup, and Turner is now hitting third.

“I don’t think it really matters for me personally,” Betts said, which was the same sentiment shared by Turner. “I’ll hit first, second, third. It doesn’t really matter.”

One key reason Roberts mentioned was behind the change is Betts’ tendency to work longer at-bats than Turner. That can be of particular benefit in the first inning, though Betts noted having flexibility in his approach is necessary as well.

“I think you’ve just got to go with the flow of the game. You can’t predetermine anything because the game gives you so many different situations,” he said. “You’ve just got to be versatile, be able to do both and know when to do both.

“I think I may be a little better at that than Trea, but he’s hitting .330 or whatever he’s hitting, so it’s kind of tough to really say anything to him in general.”

Betts showed aggressiveness

One example of Betts not necessarily waiting to see several pitches was evident in the fifth inning on Saturday night when he ambushed San Diego Padres reliever Craig Stammen for a three-run home run.

“He’s been really good keeping it out of the middle of the plate, so I knew I needed to be ready to swing,” Betts explained. “If you fall behind someone like him, you get yourself in a little bit of trouble. I was just ready to hit.”

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