Dodgers: Zach McKinstry allowing LAD to rest Mookie Betts

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Zach McKinstry #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers motions to fans during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Zach McKinstry #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers motions to fans during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers are built to be able to keep a 126-win pace with Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger on the bench.

None of us want them to be forced to do that. It’s less pleasant than operating as a fully-healthy destroyer of worlds.

But right now, that’s exactly what we’re watching, and exactly why Los Angeles is a roster tinkerer’s dream.

People like Zach McKinstry, who’ve waited through countless playoff runs for their shot, are the reason the dream works in practice.

McKinstry, playing left field on Sunday while a now-recovered Chris Taylor shifted to center and Edwin Rios slotted into right field (just like we drew it up), got the scoring started by cracking a gapper towards the bleachers in left-center.

Betts, sitting yet again with a stiff back after enjoying an ovation as he received his Silver Slugger pregame, could do nothing but smile…and he didn’t have to do any more.

Dodgers OF Zach McKinstry is filling in for Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger.

We’ll take Betts back the very second he’s ready — Dave Roberts swears you won’t see him until he’s able to start — but for now, McKinstry is doing a fairly solid impression of the former MVP.

Power to all fields? Check. Putting bat on ball in clutch scenarios? Absolutely. Strange and exciting plays most fans have never seen before? Uh…did you catch that inside-the-parker in Colorado?

LA’s second unit, featuring Rios and McKinstry, isn’t the prototype. But they bring above-average gloves and above-average bats to a group that’s certainly stacked at every other position.

Without McKinstry, fans would be at least a little agitated to be losing Betts (and Belli) so soon while Roberts pretty plainly takes his foot off the gas pedal.

Luckily, this team had a perfectly-minted utility IF/OF ready to step in during their early-season time of need. Would Betts be sitting in September? Doubtful. But we can take the utmost caution thanks to one of our current top performers making a name for himself.

And when Taylor (likely) departs this offseason, McKinstry will be able to give the Dodgers a more permanent lift.

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