Livescore Tuesday, April 23

Yahoo Sports senior MLB analyst Jordan Shusterman and national MLB insider Russell Dorsey praise Mookie Betts’ productive performance with the Dodgers. Hear the full conversation on the “Baseball Bar-B-Cast” podcast – and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: While it is not news that Mookie Betts is a very talented, productive, amazing, astonishing baseball player, even for him, the heater that we are witnessing amidst the Dodgers circus that is, of course, taking place for a million reasons that have nothing to do with him– it is something to behold.

I know you were in Los Angeles for opening weekend, and so I’ll just kick it to you here. He hits another home run last night. He’s already up to five. What is– does anything seem different, or are we just watching one of the best kind of at his best?

RUSS DORSEY: I would love to say that there was something that Mookie Betts was doing differently to get him on this roll. I saw Mookie out in LA, talked to him. He is as normal as can be, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. Like, he comes up, says, what’s going on, man? He’s out there, taking ground balls every day, since he is their starting shortstop now.

And you would think that it would add some layer of difficulty, or maybe he’s thinking about that instead of what he’s doing. He’s not. He’s still just one of the best players in baseball. And the guy finished second in MVP voting last year. He clearly doesn’t want to come in second again this year.

I think there was definitely a concerted effort, because you saw, at points, last year, where he didn’t look like himself, and then he– it was, like, maybe right around May, it’s like, oh, there he is, where he starts hitting the ball in the air and then starts hitting the ball in the air with authority, and then those balls start flying out of the ballpark.

And so yes, I do think he’s perfected that and getting comfortable with hitting the ball in the air, but still being able to do what he does, like the ball hit in the gap for the triple a couple of nights ago. It’s like, all right. There’s Mookie Betts. And then I don’t think it hurts to have Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman hitting behind you.

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: Right now, I’d rather pitch to Shohei Ohtani.

RUSS DORSEY: 1,000%. He’s not even swinging the bat well, and they’re averaging 7 runs a game. There are so many dudes that have way more raw power than Mookie Betts. But the ability to barrel baseballs consistently is so important in translating that to home runs and games, hitting the ball in the gap, hitting the ball hard.

And I think the fact that he can do that maybe better than anybody in baseball, in terms of–


RUSS DORSEY: –I will always find the barrel.


RUSS DORSEY: Like, and I saw him hit a home run on Friday, just hanging, breaking the ball. Like, it doesn’t matter. And he’s not the guy that you can make the mistake to. He’s not the guy that you can throw the cement mixer– get me over breaking ball, because I’ll jump a yard on you and ambush you first pitch.

Or if– yeah, let’s throw the sweeper out over the heart of the plate. All right. Now, it’s going 4-10.

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: Listen, there is a reason this team is getting the hype it does, and we aren’t even really seeing them at full strength yet.

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