With Benedict in attendance for Mother’s Day at Dodger Stadium, Betts showed off his level of stardom once again, hitting a key two-run homer to help the Dodgers complete a three-game sweep of the Padres with a 4-0 win on Sunday.
As Betts crossed home plate, he blew a kiss to his mother in the stands. With her usual enthusiasm and energy, Benedict responded by dancing and even spreading both her arms open, a celebration the Dodgers have used at times this season.
“I remember going back to summer ball and she was always there,” Betts said postgame. “She’s always cheering and supporting and I can hear her when I’m going up to the batter’s box. Nothing’s changed and I’m just glad to have an amazing mom.”
In yet another low-scoring game between the two teams, Betts’ homer was the deciding swing. Miguel Rojas led off the inning with a double and Betts jumped on a Ryan Weathers changeup that stayed up. As he’s been doing over the last few weeks, it was a mistake that Betts didn’t miss.
“I was chasing a lot, not really giving myself the best chances,” Betts said about some of his early season inconsistencies. “So I’ve just been focusing on swinging at good pitches.”
Betts has certainly accomplished that as he continues to shine in the month of May for a second consecutive season. The six-time All-Star hit a season-high 12 homers in May 2022. He’s on pace for a similar output this season, hitting five homers in 12 games this month.
“Superstars play big in big moments and he’s doing that for us,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I think he’s probably not as consistent as he wants to be, but I see a concerted effort on every pitch in the batter’s box now.”
That added focus could be because of the added reps Betts has gotten in the infield over the last few weeks. A natural infielder, Betts has admitted that occasionally playing the infield keeps him more engaged over the entirety of a Major League season. The Dodgers are banking on that helping Betts find more consistency and avoid some of the lulls he experienced at times last season.
“It’s hard when you play every single day, I understand that,” Roberts said. “But he’s clearly a big part of what we’re doing, and when he’s competing like he’s competing on every pitch, there aren’t too many better on the planet.”
With Betts — and the support of his mom — leading the way on offense, All-Star right-hander Tony Gonsolin and the Dodgers’ bullpen made sure to take care of business on the pitching side.
Celebrating his 29th birthday, Gonsolin was solid in his fourth start of the season, tossing five scoreless innings. He wasn’t as efficient with the pitch count, however, needing 85 pitches. But Gonsolin noted that his fastball command was “as good” as it’s been since the 2019 season.
“Definitely feel great, health-wise, feel good,” Gonsolin said. “Building more confidence every day and just trusting that everything is working.”
Everything is also working for the Dodgers, who continued their most impressive stretch of the season up to this point as four relievers combined to close out their third shutout of the season. With the three-game sweep of the Padres, they’ve now won five in a row and 13 of their last 15 games overall. After an offseason full of Padres talk, the Dodgers have now opened a seven-game lead over the team that was the popular pick to win the NL West.
Before the season, Freddie Freeman said the NL West still ran through the Dodgers, at least until someone knocked them off. The Dodgers don’t appear ready to abandon their throne so easily.
“I don’t think we ever really felt we were the underdogs,” Roberts said. “Most important thing is playing baseball games and seeing who the best team is. I’ve always liked our club.”