Baseball’s not a kind sport, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has learned over the course of his decades in the dugout.
Sometimes it’s best to be blunt and to the point, even if the truth is hard to swallow.
Matt Beaty’s bat has carried Los Angeles at times in the early going this season, but he’s not a right fielder by nature — or, according to Wednesday night’s results, in practice.
He’s mostly floated between first base and left field this year, though Roberts has tried to push the versatility envelop by using him in right on occasion. In the series finale in San Diego, pressure mounted when Mookie Betts rested after being removed from Tuesday’s game with an illness. That left the right field cupboard bare, and forced Beaty into action in the crucial late innings.
Beaty has meant a lot to this Dodgers team this year, filling in for Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry while hitting .258 with a .350 OBP and 105 OPS+.
Unfortunately, the wrong type of light definitely shined on him in the late innings of Wednesday’s sweep-inducing loss, and this play in right field might live in infamy for a while.
Dodgers “right fielder” Matt Beaty heard some hard truths from Dave Roberts.
Again, was this the reason the Dodgers lost on Wednesday? Possibly. It wasn’t the reason the series went awry, though, and no team as talented as this one should leave a sweep hanging in the balance in the late innings of Game 3, especially not after sending Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer to the mound in a three-gamer.
Without mincing words, though, this was bad. Not one to dance around the issue, Dave Roberts treated his postgame availability like a no-spin zone, outright admitting what every viewer of this game knew.
Yes, Mookie Betts would’ve locked that double down.
Betts hasn’t been all there in 2021, it feels like, and yet he’s still played 62 games and accrued 2.9 WAR. He’s just that good a fielder when he’s available.
Hopefully, his latest malady necessitates only a short-term absence, much like the nicks and bruises he’s already fought off this year while his batting average has taken a dive.
Beaty shouldn’t feel bad about his body of work this year by any means, but … what else is Roberts supposed to say there? A misplay is a misplay. This one hurt.