Should the Dodgers re-evaluate Mookie Betts’ place in the lineup?

The recent struggles of the Los Angeles Dodgers are well-documented. Their specific issue with runners in scoring position maybe even more so. And while Monday’s rain delay gives them a slight reprieve as they get their offense in order, there is perhaps another solution toward activating the bats. 

The top of the Dodgers’ lineup has been as consistent as possible this year. Mookie Betts leads off. Shohei Ohtani hits second. Freddie Freeman goes third. Other than the odd shifting for an off day, it’s been that trio atop the group. 

Given the team’s issues with runners on and, more notably, in scoring position, it could behoove them to move Mookie, in particular, down a touch in the lineup. 

Among Dodger regulars, Betts has been the team’s best hitter with runners in scoring position. He’s slashing .391/.494/.563/1.056. That’s gaudy. His wRC+ checks in at 207 in that situation. Granted, that’s a smaller sample given his position in the lineup, but he also represents the best contact hitter of the group. Betts carries an overall Contact% of 87.6 into the week. 

Inserting Betts into the two or three-hole in the lineup could be away to activate something in the RISP game. It’s simply about getting the requisite contact necessary to get runners moving across the plate. Especially given the way his counterparts at the top have struggled, as Freeman & Ohtani are a combined 2-14 in such situations during the five-game losing streak.

Of course, such a move immediately raises the question of who handles leadoff duties in his stead. Do you go Ohtani, given the combination of on-base and baserunning ability? Does Freeman’s lesser power make him more of a fit there, given the on-base? 

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Either way, it’s not a suggestion of a permanent solution. It’s simply a way to expedite the Dodgers shaking off their RISP before this current stretch snowballs into something more significant in the bigger picture.

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