Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Heading into the 2021 regular season, the expectation was the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, two World Series favorites, would battle it out for National League West supremacy as well.
The Padres were picked by many to end the Dodgers’ streak of division titles, which of course wound up being completed by the San Francisco Giants in a complete surprise. Nevertheless, the Dodgers and Padres played highly-contested and entertaining games, particularly early in the year.
One of those came at Petco Park in the middle of April and ended on Mookie Betts making a diving catch that the DodgerBlue.com staff ranked as the best Dodgers play from the 2021 season.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the tying runners in scoring position, Tommy Pham hit a line drive that Betts immediately broke left on and sprawled out for a game-winning catch in the right-center field gap.
Making it all the more impressive was Betts not only got to the baseball but held onto it in the palm of his glove. The catch probability was a mere 10% according to Statcast, making it a five-star play.
“That play is really hard to make. Coming across, not in or back, for him to be able to do that is another reason why Mookie is the best,” Clayton Kershaw said after the Dodgers escaped. “It was a big catch, because extra innings would’ve been tough. That was huge.”
— Mad Choriyama (@MadChoriyama) April 18, 2021
“It takes an elite defender in center to make that play,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “A lot of things have got to line up: the jump on the baseball, the line to the ball and still secure the baseball.
“There’s a handful of guys that probably could’ve made that play. It just speaks to that’s why he’s arguably the best all-around player in baseball.”
Justin Turner added: “It saved the game. Obviously he’s a guy that can change the game and impact the game in so many different ways. Whether’s that offensively, with baserunning, or like that catch to end the game, with his glove.”
Top Dodgers plays from 2021
No. 1: Mookie Betts makes game-ending catch
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