Clayton Kershaw defends Dodgers, Mookie Betts blanks on cheating allegations

Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two / Harry How/GettyImages

Thanks to the release of Evan Drellich's Winning Fixes Everything, a retelling of the Astros' cheating scheme and all its reverberations, the Los Angeles Dodgers have once again found themselves in the crosshairs.

Most of that time in the crosshairs has been spent muttering in disbelief, pointing at the other guys and going, "This...was supposed to be about them, though?"

But, in the midst of all that scrambling, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw put forth a solid defense of his team, drawing a distinct line in the sand between LA's behavior and what the Astros were punished for.

On the flip side, Dodgers outfielder and former Red Sox star Mookie Betts pled for the baseball world to put some respect on the '18 Sox, but still couldn't exactly pinpoint where they crossed the line and what line was crossed.

Monday's camp was a mixed bag for the Dodgers, with Kershaw defending the Dodgers -- and the Red Sox -- while justifying the team's hire of disgraced Boston replay room monitor JT Watkins. Betts, while trying to do the same, invited scrutiny.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw says Astros stood alone, Mookie Betts can't remember when Red Sox cheated

Kershaw asked for a "clear distinction" between the Dodgers (and Red Sox, and Yankees...) and the Astros' real-time communication.

Betts? He was anything but clear when pressed on just how often Boston used their version of the scheme, which he claimed didn't factor into postseason play and only was put in place with a runner on second. At the very least, he acknowledged in full that signs were stolen through illicit means.

"Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, who was on the 2018 Red Sox, acknowledged that he was aware his team was using live video feeds to stealing signs. 'Yeah,”' Betts said Sunday, 'everybody was.'"

Mookie Betts on sign-stealing

But how often did Boston rely on this? Sorry, memory hazy, try again later.

"In that 2018 regular season, Betts claimed, the scheme was infrequently used. 'Every now and …' Betts started to say. 'It’s kind of hard to remember.' So this wasn’t a daily practice? 'No!' Betts said with a smile. 'This is what I’m trying to say. People are trying to make it like we’re cheating. Give us credit. We had a good team. Give us some credit. We had Cy Young winners. We had MVPs. We had Gold Glove winners. We had Silver Sluggers. We had all that. Take that into account.'"

Mookie Betts

OK. Fine. We'll take it into account. It remains hard to believe that Alex Cora wouldn't have succeeded in Houston (also a team with a large amount of talent), gotten away with "stealing a World Series" (his words), then gone to Boston and cut down on the frequency of his most successful practice.

But, then again, it's kind of hard to remember -- especially when it was four long years ago, and Watkins is a Dodger now.