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Clutch hits & confidence: Mookie key in WCS

@kengurnick
October 2, 2020

After starring on the mound in Thursday's night 3-0 win, Clayton Kershaw spoke glowingly of his successor as the future face of the Dodgers, Mookie Betts, whose third double of the series drove in two runs and helped the Los Angeles sweep the National League Wild Card Series over the

After starring on the mound in Thursday's night 3-0 win, Clayton Kershaw spoke glowingly of his successor as the future face of the Dodgers, Mookie Betts, whose third double of the series drove in two runs and helped the Los Angeles sweep the National League Wild Card Series over the Brewers.

Game Date Matchup TV
Gm 1 Sept. 30 LAD 4, MIL 2 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 1 LAD 3, MIL 0 Watch

Kershaw was reminded of hitters that helped carry the Dodgers earlier in his career, namely Manny Ramírez and Hanley Ramírez, and how Betts compares.

“The guys that you mentioned just happened to be hot at the right time,” said Kershaw. “But Mookie kind of separates himself with the consistency and the other things he can do on the baseball field if he happens not to be getting hits.

“There’s also a confidence there. There’s a really calming influence there. It’s just expected that we’re going to win and you feed off that, not necessarily by what he says but by the way he carries himself. It’s awesome. Thankfully, he’s on our team.”

In Game 1, Betts doubled in each of the first two innings, scoring one run and driving in another. In Game 2, after striking out in his first two at-bats against Brandon Woodruff, Betts followed an RBI single by Austin Barnes that broke up a scoreless tie in the fifth inning by pulling a two-run double inside third and into the left-field corner.

“Barnesy came up clutch there, making it easier for me, and I was just looking for a pitch to drive,” said Betts. “He fell behind, 2-0, so I knew he had to come to me, so just ready. You just want to come through in a situation like that.”

Woodruff had nine strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings against the Dodgers when Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor set the table for Barnes and Betts with singles.

“It’s kind of what our lineup is built for,” Betts said. “We got to make it tough on him. He was cruising for a while, but we put together good at-bats, a couple knocks and put pressure on him.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.