The Los Angeles Dodgers got another look at Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Atlanta Braves this past weekend in a matchup that could be a precursor for the postseason, while also providing a stage for the top two National League MVP candidates to square off.
Both Mookie Betts and Acuña had their share of moments, but it was the Braves All-Star who shined a bit brighter. Leading his club to three wins in the four-game series, Acuña clubbed four extra-base hits, including three home runs, with six RBI.
The Dodgers did their best to claw their way back from a huge deficit in the series opener, with Betts slugging two home runs in an effort that came up just short. He had a big series as well, going 5-for-17 with a three-hit performance in the finale that ended with a win.
The series had the anticipation and the feeling of a potential postseason matchup, but for now, the talk of baseball is the race for MVP. Acuña discussed what he saw in Betts and how much he brings to the Dodgers roster, per David O’Brien of the Athletic:
“It’s not easy, but the way he makes it look easy,” Acuña said through a translator. “He can play right field, he can play center field, he can play second base, he can play anywhere.”
In his 10th year, Betts is showing how versatile he truly is, even playing shortstop for the first time. His advanced stats at second base have shown he can play the position at an extremely high level.
To go long with the 175 wRC+ Betts has posted as the Dodgers enter play on Tuesday, he’s juggled shifting between the infield and outfield in 34 games this year, all while playing at, or near career-best offensive marks.
How close is NL MVP race between Mookie Betts & Ronald Acuña Jr.?
With an unbelievable performance from Acuña during the four-game set with the Dodgers, he raised his fWAR to 6.9 on the season.
Because of Acuña’s recent surge, his key hits during several big spots against the Dodgers overshadowed a solid series from Betts. Acuña captured the crown as the first player in MLB history with 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases in one season.
Betts’ 7.7 fWAR still leads all of baseball, but aside from that, he’s hammered in the point that his focus is on winning and not second MVP Award or battle with Acuña.
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