Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman offer no explanation for playoff struggle vs. Diamondbacks

Oct 12, 2023, 2:51 PM

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ sweep of Los Angeles in the National League Division Series prompted many questions about the 100-win Dodgers. They’re a team that wins the NL West nearly every year but seemingly struggles to reach the finish line.

In the end, the disappearance of stars Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman proved pivotal in the team’s early postseason exit.

The former MVPs were quiet: a combined 1-21 at the plate while failing to reach base in the final 17 innings of the best-of-five series. The lone hit between the two was an infield single by Freeman in Game 2.

“I can’t speak for all of us, but I know for sure I did absolutely nothing to help us win,” Betts said.

“Not good by us,” Freeman added.

Betts batted .307 with 39 home runs in the regular season. Freeman batted .331 with 211 hits. They produced two of the best offensive seasons in Dodgers history.

The Dodgers averaged 5.6 runs per game all season, yet they scored six runs combined in three playoff contests.

In the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ Game 3 loss on Wednesday, Betts and Freeman had one more opportunity to turn things around.

With the Dodgers behind, 4-2, and a runner on first with no outs, the two sluggers struck out on pitches outside the strike zone against D-backs reliever Kevin Ginkel. Former D-backs outfielder J.D. Martinez flew out to end the inning.

When asked about his sluggers’ performances, Roberts was at a loss for words, just like many others in the Dodgers clubhouse Wednesday night.

“You know what, I know that those guys are prepared. Those are our guys, two great players. It’s one of the things that baseball — I don’t have an answer, I really don’t,” Roberts said. “You look at the game, the series, they outplayed us, and there’s no other spin to it.”

Diamondbacks starter Brandon Pfaadt pitched 4.1 scoreless innings in Game 3. However, the rookie left pitches over the plate, yet the Dodgers couldn’t hit them.

“If you look at both offenses … I’m sure you guys can go back and look at balls in the strike zone and what they did for them and balls in the strike zone and what we did with them,” Roberts said. “That’s part of the game when you’re seeing good pitching. But when you get balls to hit and slug, the team that does it is more likely going to win. And that’s what happened in this series.”

The Diamondbacks, a team that overlooked nationally in spring training and entering the postseason, now await either the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.

Betts and Freeman, who are both likely to finish top 5 in MVP voting, now have to sit and ponder all offseason what they could’ve done better to help the Dodgers win.

“I didn’t do very much towards the end of the season, but it doesn’t matter if it’s frustrating or not, man,” Betts said. “You gotta get the job done. Doesn’t matter how you were playing, what was going on. At the end of the day, when this postseason starts, you gotta get the job done.”

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