Dodgers turn things around

Mookie Betts turns a double play against Cody Bellinger and the Cubs. (Quinn Harris / Getty Images)


By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer 


The LA Dodgers fell under .500 in April for the first time in four years.  Manager Dave Roberts tinkered with a few things while Max Muncy and rookie James Outman got hot at the plate. That helped the team win its first series of the year over Chicago.  

Mookie Betts returned from a leave of absence to start his first major league game at shortstop against the Cubs. 

He was drafted in 2011 by the Red Sox as a shortstop but hadn’t played professionally since the 2013 developmental Arizona Fall League. 

It was a decision born out of necessity, with Gavin Lux out for year and Miguel Rojas on the injury list, Roberts expected Betts, who came up as a second baseman and takes grounders at both middle infield spots almost every single day, to happily embrace. 

“He looks extremely natural,” Roberts said. “The guy can play anywhere on a baseball field.” 

That much was clear against the Cubs in the bottom of the eighth, when Betts helped the Dodgers escape a two-on, no-out jam by leaping over a baserunner on a crucial double-play. 

“That was like a dream come true,” Betts said. “I know it’s work and it’s a job. But getting to play short is a lot of fun.” 

And there might be more of it in Betts’ future, with Roberts saying postgame he was already considering whether the former MVP may have to play there for awhile. 

“I just give Mookie a lot of credit tonight,” Roberts said. “Getting off a plane, having a baby, being willing to come into a ballgame and take an at-bat and then go out and play a position he’s never played before at the big-league level. Made a really nice play. It just speaks to his athleticism. It was a big boost to us.” 

Dodgers’ James Outman watches his grand slam against the Chicago Cubs, setting a Dodger rookie record in April. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Max Muncy continues to be hot homering twice in a 9-4 Dodger win. He’s the league leader  in homers 11 (at press time). 

 Newcomer James Outman also hit a pair in the same game setting a franchise rookie record with seven homers before May. 

Teammate Freddy Freeman sure believes it a good move. Betts turned a double play for the final out to clinch the series win vs. the Cubs. 

“I think he could be a Golden Glover at any position,” said Freeman. I don’t know to many people that could be top five players in all of baseball and cover multiple positions and make it look easy.”