That’s it. That’s the takeaway.
I feel like I’ve written about this at least 15 times, but let’s make it 16. Mookie Betts is arguably the best player in all of baseball, and he proved that again on Tuesday night. He went 2-for-4 in Game 1, scoring two runs and hitting his first postseason home run as a Dodger. Oh, he added two stolen bases for good measure.
His first stolen base won over the hearts of America, as it won everyone in the country a free taco from Taco Bell next week. (Thank you so much, Mookie).
“Stolen bases are a thing for me. It’s how I create runs,” Betts said following the game. “I caused a little havoc on the bases. I take pride in stolen bases.”
As if that stolen base wasn’t enough, he decided to steal third base for his second of the inning, which made World Series history.
Mookie Betts steals 2 bases and has a walk in same inning of World Series game-only one other player ever did that-Babe Ruth. Both after they were traded from Red Sox— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) October 21, 2020
His teammate, and Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw took notice of Betts’ incredible performance on the base paths.
“Mookie’s pretty special,” Kershaw said. “He does things on the baseball field that not many people can do, and he does it consistently, which I think separates him from a lot of guys.”
If you thought Betts was done showing off, think again. In the bottom of the sixth, he went oppo-taco (get it??) for the solo shot, his first homer in the postseason with his new team. Overall. What a game. What a postseason.
Oh, and did I mention he’ll be a Dodger for 12 more years?
All postseason, the Dodgers have been making terrific defensive plays. However, Tuesday night might have been one of their best as a team. I don’t even know where to begin with the crazy plays we saw.
We’ll start in the sixth inning, as Justin Turner had one of his best defensive plays of the season. His best came just a few days ago in Game 7. Though he’s getting up there in age, Turner proved that yet again he is one of the more underrated defensive third basemen in all of baseball.
This one was probably the biggest of the game, as the Rays had a rally going in the seventh inning. Entering the inning trailing 8-1, Tampa Bay put two runs on the board and looked as if they were in prime position to tack on some more. With runners on first and second with one out, Mike Zunino scorched this one at Victor Gonzalez. And when I say scorched, I mean scorched, as it had an exit velocity of 105.6 mph.
Gonzalez made the miraculous catch, quickly turning two to end the inning. Had Gonzalez not made that catch, who knows where the inning could have gone.
Finally, Cody Bellinger added yet another amazing catch to his postseason resume. Although we’ve seen him pull off some incredible catches over the weeks, this one was just as impressive.
Oh, and luckily his shoulder looks alright.
The Rays offense isn’t that good
Of course now that I’m writing this, they’re going to come out and score 15 runs in Game 2. I wrote an article yesterday briefly diving into Tampa Bay’s offense. Long story short, they were about middle of the pack when it came to offense in the American League. They struck out a lot, didn’t score than many runs or really hit for power.
That was evident on Tuesday night.
For the game, they scored three runs on six hits, but they didn’t pose much of a threat at all. Maybe that’s because their damage came with a huge deficit, but this offense isn’t anything like what the Braves or Padres offered. They also struck out 10 times, and had a number of outs that came with two strikes.
I know, I know, it’s only one game, don’t read too much into it. But this was an offense that wasn’t that good during the regular season and hasn’t been too good in the postseason. They rely on the home run more than any team out there, so when they’re not hitting the long ball, it’s a long night for them at the plate.