Mookie Mashes! Betts Has Nine Game Streak

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The Dodgers have been a powerhouse in the league since the beginning of the season - and when Mookie Betts is on his hitting game, Los Angeles is unstoppable. As of Sunday night, with a .731 win percentage, the Dodgers have the best record in Major League Baseball, riding on a six-game win streak. There’s a stark correlation between Betts’ nine-game hitting streak as of Sunday night. That’s the longest streak yet by a Dodger this year; Trea Turner had an eight game hitting streak to open the 2022 season.

This current nine game streak also includes five multi-hit games. In his last 14 games, the all-star outfielder is 18-for-53 (.340), along with a ​​1.060 OPS including five home runs and a double. His xwOBA of .376 is a blip higher than his overall wOBA of .358, which actually suggests he’s been a little unlucky. Betts got off to a slow start this season, but now has seen a significant jump in xwOBA in his last 50 plate appearances, compared to 100 plate appearances.

He’s hitting the ball slightly harder than he did in 2021, and his HardHit% currently sits at 41.8% and is just improving. According to Statcast data, Betts is the only Dodger this week with more hard-hit balls than Cody Bellinger, including four hard-hit balls in Sunday’s game versus the Cubs.

Pitch recognition appears to be solid as he appears to be able to hit anything. He carries a .354 wOBA on fastballs, .296 on breaking pitches, and .443 on offspeed stuff. He’s also exercising some great plate discipline as he has a near-the-top-of-the-league chase rate at 18.4%, and admirable whiff rate at 16.4%. He is indeed striking out less and walking more lately; in fact, before Sunday, Betts had not struck out in 11 games.

Not to mention he’s been flashing some excellent leather in the outfield, especially a spectacular over-the-shoulder-grab in Tuesday’s matchup versus the Giants. The Dodgers’ leadoff hitter has been heating up - he’s so hot right now.

Top Performances

The White Sox are on a season-high six game winning streak. Closer Liam Hendriks has saved the past five White Sox games in a row. Hendriks also reached an important milestone during that save streak; he now has the most saves by an Australian-born player with 85, passing up Grant Balfour’s record of 84. In Hendriks’ save streak, he gave up no hits and no runs. Though the White Sox had another save opportunity in Sunday’s game, Bennett Sousa closed the game, as Hendriks got a much-needed day off.

Rowdy Tellez has hit four home runs this week, and that’s just the short list of his great accomplishments. The 27-year-old first baseman also has five doubles to his name. Tellez is slashing .270/.330/.596 with seven homers and 24 RBI as of Sunday night. He’s also tops in the league in barrel rate, exit velocity, and xwOBA, as he’s absolutely mashing the ball. Tellez set a Brewers franchise record with eight RBI -- a grand slam and a two-run homer in Wednesday’s game versus the Reds. Tellez hit a total of 19 homers over the past three seasons combined, and is on pace to possibly shatter that number this season.

Willy Adames homered twice on Thursday, in what was eventually a six homer effort by the Brewers. It was also Adames’ second multi-homer effort in the last two weeks. The 26-year-old has certainly been heating up at the plate. He carries a very admirable 140 wRC+ and .370 wOBA; he’s also hitting .291/.391/.746 with seven homers, 19 RBI, and one stolen base over his last 14 games. Adames was notably last week’s NL Player of the Week.

It may be a little early to start Cy Young talk, but Dylan Cease’s name should be in the preliminary discourse. His first five starts of the season have been early consideration-worthy, compiling a 2.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 47/13 K/BB ratio over 34 innings. Cease has done an especially great job at limiting hard contact as he’s in the top of the league in exit velocity, xBA, and HardHit%. A pitcher with an incredibly high strikeout upside and an excellent K% of 34.3%, he is tied for first in the American League with 47 strikeouts and is on pace to annihilate his 2021 strikeout total of 226.

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Injury Report

Byron Buxton’s hip has been a topic of contention as of late. He described his hip injury as a “very low level” hip strain to reporters earlier on Sunday, and that he’s tried “just about everything you can name” when it comes to treatment, including acupuncture. For now, he’s considered day to day, and could be back as soon as the Astros series.

Reds second baseman Jonathan India was placed on the 10-day injured list on May 1 (retroactive to April 30) with a hamstring injury, and is expected to be sidelined for two weeks. “He didn’t re-injure his hamstring, we’re just being cautious,” manager David Bell said; an estimated time for his return is mid-May. Alejo Lopez is starting in his place at second base, while Tyler Naquin has been hitting in the leadoff spot in India’s absence.

Carlos Correa missed his third straight game on Sunday with his injured finger. Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey told reporters on Friday that Carlos Correa does not have a fractured finger, which is good news. He's going to attempt to take some dry swings and hit off a tee on Monday, but Tuesday (when the Twins start a series with the Astros) is "not a realistic day to come back" according to the shortstop, even if he really wants to face his old team.

Zack Wheeler was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on Sunday, along with fellow starter Zach Eflin. You can probably consider him a scratch from his upcoming start against the Mariners, on Tuesday. In his last outing on Wednesday, Wheeler threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out seven, but took a no-decision.

Honor Roll

Brandon Lowe (2-for-2, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB on Saturday), Max Fried (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8K on Saturday), Eugenio Suarez (2-for-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB on Friday), Merrill Kelly (8 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K on Friday), Jesus Luzardo (6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K on Thursday), Tyler Stephenson ( 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (3), 2 RBI, SB (1) on Thursday), Trevor Story (2-for-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI on Wednesday), Corey Kluber (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 BB on Wednesday), Cristian Javier (5 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K on Tuesday), Aaron Judge (2-for-5, HR, 2B, R on Tuesday), Steven Matz (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K on Monday), David Peralta (3-for-4, HR (3), 3 RBI, R on Monday), Joe Musgrove (7 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 8 K, on Sunday), Kyle Schwarber (3-for-4, 2 HR (7), 3 RBI, 2 R on Saturday)

Batting Around

J.P. Crawford has been experimenting with different techniques to help compensate for the deadened baseballs that have dampened offense across the league. In Friday’s game versus the Tampa Bay Rays, Abraham Toro took a pitch deep to the warning track. To add some additional mojo to help the ball carry out of the field of play, Crawford invoked loudly chanting the name of pop diva Mariah Carey into the crisp Seattle air. Casting an additional spell next to Crawford was Ty France, puffing short breaths, hoping to contribute to the direction of wind at T-Mobile Park. The ball carried a little - but was caught at the warning track by Harold Ramirez. Crawford and France will have to find more ways to influence fly balls, or perhaps give the Mariah chant a second chance to help “carry” out some more run production. It would be a ... sweet, sweet, fantasy. (Sorry.)

That's the week that was - join us next week as we recap the week's top stories, achievements, and accolades from around Major League Baseball.