‘Great’ Mookie Betts easily put Dodgers over top: Kiké Hernandez

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As somebody who played for the near-miss Dodgers clubs of 2017 and ’18 and three others that fell short of the World Series, Kiké Hernandez can unequivocally say this is the best team on which he’s played.

Hernandez’s assessment came before the Dodgers and Rays played Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Dodgers, ahead 3-2 in the series, were looking to clinch their first World Series title since 1988.

Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger and Kenley Jansen were others who helped form the nucleus of teams that won three NL championships in four years — Corey Seager was on the injured list when the Dodgers reached the World Series in 2018 — but this group included an additional star component in Mookie Betts.

“Something that I learned this year is how great Mookie Betts is as a player,” Hernandez said. “A lot of us have been here for a while and the [players] that are coming up, you get to know them during spring training and you start hearing their names coming up, but playing in the National League you don’t really get to watch American League players that often, especially on a daily basis and Mookie Betts is the real deal.”

If Betts, who arrived with David Price in a trade with the Red Sox last winter, wasn’t the Dodgers’ overall postseason MVP — with his glove shining more than his bat — it was only because Seager had blasted eight homers entering Tuesday.

To Hernandez, it was evident in August that this Dodgers group was special.

“Look at the trade deadline,” he said. “There were a lot of questions about a lot of teams, but there really wasn’t a lot of questions about what the Dodgers need to get over the edge. That tells you how deep and how complete we were and are as a team that we didn’t feel the need to go after somebody to get us over the hump.

“And the years that I have been here there’s always been that question about what do they need and what they don’t have and this year there really wasn’t that, we kind of have it all and it’s allowed us to be in this position we’re in today.”

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