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Dodgers’ Mookie Betts wins Gold Glove, as does Angels’ Griffin Canning

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts chases a single by Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows.
Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts chases down a single by the Rays’ Austin Meadows in Game 6 of the World Series.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Mookie Betts’ impact on the Dodgers’ first championship-winning season since 1988 was felt in every department, from July through October, in the batter’s box, on the basepaths, and in right field.

On Tuesday, he was recognized for his defensive prowess, winning his fifth career Gold Glove award.

Betts beat out Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies and Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs after taking the award in the American League as a member of the Boston Red Sox the previous four seasons.

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger also was a finalist at his position, but the award went to Trent Grisham of the San Diego Padres. Bellinger won the Gold Glove award last season as a right fielder.

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Mission Viejo native and Angels starter Griffin Canning won the Gold Glove for pitchers in the American League. The 24-year-old right-hander led AL pitchers with three defensive runs saved and committed one error in 16 chances. He tied for second in assists with eight and third for putouts with seven.

Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning throws to the Seattle Mariners.
Griffin Canning is the first Angels pitcher to win a Gold Glove since Mark Langston won five straight from 1991 to 1995.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The 28-year-old Betts was named one of three finalists for the NL MVP award on Monday, a candidacy buoyed by his impactful defense performance. Betts led National League right fielders in major advanced defense metric categories, including ultimate zone rating, range runs and defensive runs during the regular season. The eye test supported the numbers.

“He’s, like, the best right fielder I’ve ever seen,” Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said in September.

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That was before Betts showed off his elite defensive skills in the postseason with highlight after highlight at Globe Life Field.

Readers are overjoyed with the Dodgers’ first title since 1988. But Justin Turner’s postgame actions are a cause for concern.

His defense took center stage with the Dodgers facing elimination in the final three games of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves. In Game 5, Betts made a shoestring catch that resulted in a game-changing, inning-ending double play. The Dodgers were trailing 3-1 in the series. After they won that game, the Dodgers said that play was the turning point.

The next day, Betts snatched away what would have been an extra-base hit with a leaping grab at the wall in Game 6. He concluded his three-day highlight reel by robbing a home run off Freddie Freeman’s bat in Game 7. The Dodgers went on to win by a run to advance to the World Series.

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“Coming in when we acquired him, my expectations were sky high, and somehow he managed to find some headroom above that and exceed it,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said after the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series. “Just can’t say enough about the baseball player, the way he makes everyone around him better.”

Mookie Betts is a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Award along with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman and the San Diego Padres’ Manny Machado.

It’s also not the first time Canning has won an award for his defense. He earned a Gold Glove as a junior at UCLA in 2017.

Canning is the first Angel to win the defensive award since shortstop Andrelton Simmons earned the fourth of his career in 2018, and the first Angels pitcher to win since Mark Langston won five straight from 1991 to 1995.

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“I think it’s kind of just something that I’ve always really tried to excel at, starting in high school, just because I played a position on top of pitching,” Canning said in a videoconference Tuesday night. “I kind of just took that onto the mound. Transitioning into college, when I was only pitching, that was kind of the only thing that I had ... to just kind of have some fun on the field. It’s just kind of something I’ve always taken pretty seriously.”

Times staff reporter Maria Torres contributed to this report.


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