Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers sit 10-3 with one of MLB’s best records, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
When the team signed former MVP Freddie Freeman shortly before the start of the 2022 regular season, writers in the baseball blogosphere began talking about the power of the Los Angeles roster. However, there were a few cold bats – notably the wood of Max Muncy and Mookie Betts – which relegated the club to the fifth-best shot and second-best run-producing team in the majors.
Still, if Friday’s opener against the Padres is any indication, both players could find their respective rhythms and could be close to joining the offensive lineup that the likes of Freeman, Chris Taylor, Trea Turner and others currently lead.
Muncy and Betts each had two hits for the Dodgers on Friday, and a few of those hits turned out to be key offensive moments of the game for Los Angeles. Betts hit his first two homers of the season, and Muncy’s seventh-inning two-run single put the game out of reach for San Diego.
Heading into Friday’s game, Betts was hitting .178/.289/.222 (8-for45) with no homer. Many fans thought for sure there might be an injury, but Betts assured everyone in a post-game interview that he was simply having trouble at home plate.
“It’s just me,” Betts told Bill Plunkett of the OC Register. “I can’t blame the hip, I can’t blame anything else. It’s all me. You have to own yourself to suck. It is what it is though. I work. My teammates were amazing in helping us win and I just want to do my part to help us win.
Likewise, Muncy was at 0.128/0.306/0.256 (5 for 39) before the start of Friday’s opener, leading some fans to wonder if skipper Dave Roberts would eventually make changes to the roster.
Muncy’s nine walks made his OBP a bit more respectable. Despite his poor average, the 31-year-old infielder thinks he looked good on the dish.
“I actually feel like I had a lot of really good shots,” Muncy told Plunkett. “Just a lot of bad luck, unfortunately. As long as you can stay mentally strong and not completely go out of yourself and start changing everything, hopefully you’ll get through this eventually. Hopefully this is a start.
Either way, a hot Muncy and Betts at the top of Los Angeles’ roster can certainly kick the club into another offensive gear. It comes at a good time when a critical piece of Blake Treinen’s bullpen was sent to the injured list with shoulder issues.
So far, there hasn’t been a ton of pressure on the bullpen yet — or the entire pitching staff, for that matter.
Hopefully the Los Angeles offense – led by Freeman, TTurner, Betts and Muncy – can keep it that way.