Just over a week into his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mookie Betts was responsible for one of the best web gems all year by throwing out the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte trying to stretch a double into a triple.
MLB Network ranked the play as the best of the 2020 season. The July 31 contest between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks saw Marte lead off the bottom of the first with a broken-bat blooper to right field.
The ball ricocheted into the corner, and by the time Betts got to it, Marte was already beginning to round second base. Betts, reminding the baseball world why he won four Gold Glove Awards during his time with the Boston Red Sox, threw a missile to Corey Seager at third to nail Marte. It was his first outfield assist with the Dodgers.
“It was pretty impressive,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Betts’ throw at the time. “I remember another play he made against the Astros, that Tony Kemp play down the line. I think that really allowed Tony (Gonsolin) to settle in. That’s over 300 feet in the air, on a dime. Whether it’s the glove, the bat, the arm, I guess that’s why he’s wearing gold out there.”
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 23, 2020
Betts also discussed what was going through his mind on that play, knowing that Marte gets around the bases quick. “I knew it was a sure double. I know he has speed, so a possible triple,” he explained.
“I tried to get there as fast as possible and I saw he was about to round second to go to third. It didn’t look like he was slowing down, so I knew I needed to get rid of it quick. Fortunately I was able to put a good throw together.”
Betts made a similar throw when he was a member of the Red Sox last September. “I think knowing I’ve done it before, it was kind in the back of my mind,” he said. “Like, ‘I need to get there just in case he goes for third.’ Like I said, he didn’t slow down as he got to second, so I figured I needed to get rid of it as fast as possible and get it there.”
Betts wins fifth Gold Glove Award
Earlier this month, Betts took home his fifth consecutive Gold Glove Award. His 11 defensive runs saved this season were 10 more than any other qualified NL right fielder.
Betts also led players at his position in UZR (6.0) and Def (3.7). He additionally won a Fielding Bible Award for this season, along with Kiké Hernandez.
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