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News Every Day |

Could Dodgers’ Mookie Betts lead majors in hits, runs and walks?

Could Dodgers’ Mookie Betts lead majors in hits, runs and walks?

LOS ANGELES — It’s a trifecta that hasn’t been accomplished since 1876 when Ross Barnes led MLB in runs, hits and walks over a 66-game schedule for the Chicago White Stockings.

But Mookie Betts entered Saturday first in hits, second in runs scored (behind Ronald Acuna Jr.) and tied for first in walks (with Juan Soto).

That Betts, a former batting champion (2018), could lead the majors in hits is not hard to imagine. That he could also lead in runs scored (he has led his league three times) with Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith batting behind him is certainly conceivable.

But how is the player batting in front of two-time MVP Ohtani (who led the majors in OPS and the American League in home runs last season) leading the majors in walks?

“That’s a great question,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

“I don’t think it is intentional that pitchers want to walk him. I think he has a really good eye coupled with really good bat-to-ball skills so he can spoil some really good pitches and buy himself another pitch and then they don’t execute.”

Betts said he was unaware of his walk total. But it didn’t make sense to him either that pitchers were putting him on base so frequently with Ohtani looming on deck.

“That sounds weird. That sounds really weird,” Betts said. “I didn’t know (that he led the majors in walks). … It’s just being the best I can be, trying to get a good pitch to hit. That’s only right now. It’s just a month in. A lot of things change obviously. But right now it’s helping us win ballgames.”

Betts’ willingness to take so many walks is just another facet of an MVP-caliber start to his season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. And Roberts doesn’t think Ohtani’s presence behind him in the lineup is a factor one way or the other, saying that is “overplayed” in discussing lineup construction.

“Because the pitchers, certainly in Mookie Betts’ case, are going to attack him and try to get him out the best way they can, regardless of who’s hitting behind him,” Roberts said. “So for Mookie to value the on-base, controlling the strike zone, which we talk about, speaks to when it’s in the strike zone, he’s getting hits. And when it’s not, he’ll take his walk.

“A couple things (are factors in his walk total). He posts. He plays every day. He’s at the top of the order, and he just conducts professional at-bats. And that’s a perfect recipe for an MVP-type player.”

PORSCHE PLAN

As Shohei Ohtani neared his franchise record for the most home runs hit by a Japanese-born player, Roberts joked that Ohtani should gift him a Porsche when he breaks the record – as Ohtani gifted Joe Kelly’s wife for her support in getting uniform number 17 (previously Joe Kelly’s number).

Ohtani tied Roberts when he hit his seventh home run of the season last weekend in Toronto and Saturday he presented Roberts with a brand new Porsche.

“It’s on my desk as we speak,” Roberts said.

The gift was a miniature, toy version of a Porsche Taycan.

“So I can’t say he never gave me anything,” Roberts said.

Ohtani is a brand ambassador for Porsche Japan.

COMING SOON

Right-hander Blake Treinen has completed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City and joined the Dodgers for the weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Roberts said it looks “promising” that Treinen could be activated from the Injured List on Sunday.

Treinen has not pitched in a major-league game since Sept. 2022. He underwent shoulder surgery that November and missed all of the 2023 season (though he made three appearances in the minor leagues on a rehab assignment). He was set to open the season on the Dodgers’ active roster this spring but was struck by a line drive during a Cactus League game in the final days of spring training.

ALSO

Outfielder Jason Heyward took batting practice on the field with the team during Saturday’s pre-game workout. It was Heyward’s first time hitting on the field since he went on the IL with a lower back strain. He hasn’t played since March 30.

UP NEXT

Braves (LHP Max Fried, 2-0, 4.02 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP James Paxton, 3-0, 3.51 ERA), Sunday, 1:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA, 570 AM

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