When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox, they envisioned him being the missing piece to the team finally getting over the hump and winning the World Series for the first time since 1988.
That ended up being the case as the Dodgers broke their 32-year drought by winning it all in 2020, and Betts was a big part of that because of his contributions in the batter’s box, on the base paths and in the field.
Betts’ defense was particularly special in the National League Championship Series, when he came up with three momentum-changing catches to help the Dodgers overcome a 3-1 series deficit to the Atlanta Braves. Those come in at No. 4 on DodgerBlue.com’s list of the top plays from the 2020 postseason.
Betts’ first catch was with the Dodgers were down 2-0 in the third inning of Game 3 on the brink of elimination. The Braves were looking to add to their lead and had runners at the corners with one out after a pair of singles.
With Joe Kelly on the mound, Dansby Swanson hit a blooper into shallow right field. Not only did Betts come charging in to make an incredible shoestring catch, but he also was able to stay on his feet and immediately fire a perfect strike to home plate.
Ozuna beat the throw home to score another run, although after a review, it was determined that he left third base early and was ruled out for an inning-ending double play. That completely shifted the momentum of not just that game, but the whole series with the Dodgers coming back to score a run in the fourth inning and eventually winning 7-3 to force a Game 6.
Betts’ second stellar defensive play came in Game 6 in another close game that could have gone either way. With the Dodgers leading 3-0 in the fifth inning, Walker Buehler found himself in a bit of trouble after a two-out single from Freddie Freeman.
Marcell Ozuna then hit a ball to deep right-center that looked to either be a home run or double in the gap. Betts came out of nowhere and made a leaping catch to rob him at the wall, ending the inning and preserving the 3-0 lead which turned into a 3-1 victory to force a winner-take-all Game 7.
The cherry on top came in Game 7 when Betts robbed Freeman of a home run in the fifth inning. The Braves were leading 3-2 in another close affair when Freeman launched one to deep right off Blake Treinen.
Betts looked like he didn’t see the ball at first, but he eventually found it and trotted back to the wall, timing his leap perfectly to commit the robbery and keep the score at 3-2.
That ended up being huge with the Dodgers coming back to earn a 4-3 win to take the series, setting up a matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series that they would go on to win in six games.
Best Dodgers moments of 2020 postseason
No. 5: Corey Seager’s MVP postseason
No. 6: Cody Bellinger hits game-winning home run in Game 7 of NLCS
No. 7: Kiké Hernandez hits game-tying home run in Game 7 of NLCS
No. 8: Julio Urias closes out World Series
No. 9: Clayton Kershaw throws out Manuel Margot trying to steal home
No. 10: 11-run first inning in Game 3 of NLCS
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