Dodgers' 2024 problems might be fully exposed after concerning Mookie Betts injury

As good as the Dodgers still are, Mookie Betts' injury has put their roster's flaws on full display.
Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Dodgers
Kansas City Royals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers took two huge blows over a 24-hour span this weekend, during their series against the Royals to end a homestand at Dodger Stadium. Yoshinobu Yamamoto was taken out of his Saturday start after just two innings, reporting arm tightness that was later narrowed down to his triceps and then revised to reflect a strained rotator cuff. He went onto the 15-day IL on Sunday, and although the issue isn't expected to be season-ending, he won't pick up a baseball for at least a few weeks.

Then, on Sunday, as the Dodgers tried to take the series from the Royals, Mookie Betts was hit in the hand by a 98 MPH fastball from reliever Dan Altavilla in the bottom of the seventh. The crack was audible from the stands, and it took Betts a few minutes to recover from the pain enough to walk off the field while being escorted by Dave Roberts and a trainer. The injury also isn't considered to be season-ending at this juncture, but he will be out for a several weeks with a fracture.

To say this is bad news for the Dodgers feels like an understatement. Roberts announced the Dodgers' intention to give Miguel Rojas most of the starts at shortstop with occasional backup from Kiké Hernández, and the Dodgers rotation will go back to five men after Bobby Miller's return brought them up to six, but LA is left far more exposed and vulnerable with the losses of two of their stars than ever before.

What will Dodgers do after Mookie Betts, Yoshinobu Yamamoto back-to-back injuries?

Before the injury, Betts was the odds-on favorite to win NL MVP. Fans have understandably been incredibly discontented with his defensive performance, but his bat has been so good that it's been possible to forgive, or at least overlook for a moment. He led the Big Three in OBP and was just five points behind Shohei Ohtani in batting average, and led the entire Dodgers lineup in triples and walks.

The Dodgers' depth, which has already been under scrutiny as pretty much every bench player but Rojas has failed to be consistently productive at the plate, will now be under a microscope as they attempt to fill in the huge gap that Betts leaves. Miguel Vargas will come back from Triple-A (again) to fill Rojas' bench spot, and he was hitting decently during his short stint just a few short weeks ago, but the Dodgers won't escape the feeling that they're stretched very thin without Betts to anchor the lineup.