The only person capable of slowing down Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts at the moment might be his manager, Dave Roberts.
Betts is batting .331 with 12 homers, 27 RBIs and 38 runs over his past 31 games for the Dodgers, who begin a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday in Phoenix.
Betts’ 12-game streak of scoring a run was snapped on Wednesday, when Roberts held him out of the starting lineup for a planned day off. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of a 1-0 loss to the host Washington Nationals.
Shortstop Trea Turner has a 17-game hitting streak for Los Angeles, which was shut out in the regular season for the first time since Aug. 29, 2021.
Despite the loss, the Dodgers still own the best record in the National League at 29-14. They have won nine of their past 11 games with Betts leading the charge.
“He’s playing MVP-type baseball, he really is,” Roberts said. “He’s scoring runs at a crazy clip. He’s on base. He’s slugging at a ridiculous clip, too, and he’s playing Gold Glove defense. He’s making the game look a lot easier than it is.”
The Dodgers are wrapping up a 10-day, three-city road trip against the surprising Diamondbacks, who have won five of their past six games.
Arizona had an off day Wednesday after sweeping a two-game set against the Kansas City Royals. Jordan Luplow and Pavin Smith each homered as the Diamondbacks rallied for an 8-6 win on Tuesday.
Picked to finish last in the NL West by many experts, Arizona moved to 23-22 with the victory.
“I’ve been saying even before the year started that we’re going to be an annoying team to play,” Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen said. “We have a lot of guys in there that have something to prove, we have a lot of guys playing with chips on their shoulders.”
The Dodgers are expected to send Mitch White (1-0, 6.17 ERA) to the mound in the series opener. The right-hander made his first start of the season on Saturday, allowing three runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.
White, 27, made four relief appearances before landing on the COVID-19 injured list on April 30. He returned for a relief outing on May 17, then didn’t pitch again until he threw 49 pitches against the Phillies. He isn’t expected to work more than four innings on Thursday.
White likely will return to his long-relief role once Andrew Heaney (shoulder) returns from the injured list in the next few weeks. He is 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA in four career games (one start) vs. the Diamondbacks.
Right-hander Humberto Castellanos (3-1, 4.29 ERA) will get the nod for Arizona. The 24-year-old allowed three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 10-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Castellanos has pitched well in four starts this month, going 2-0 with an 18-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 3.32 ERA over 21 2/3 innings.
“He’s been taking the baseball and doing a really good job of executing the game plan,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Castellanos lost his only previous start against the Dodgers on Sept. 24, 2021, when he yielded three runs in five innings in Phoenix. In two career outings vs. Los Angeles, he is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
Arizona third baseman Josh Rojas has missed the past three games due to a swollen left hand, but could return to action on Thursday.
–Field Level Media