ARLINGTON, Texas – Mookie Betts’ third inning, catch on little money, altered the momentum, and Will Smith’s sixth inning away from his namesake proved the difference. But all the while, there was Corey Seager – a forgotten man on this star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers team – producing as he did throughout his Renaissance season.
Seager made two homers in the Dodgers 7-3, season-saving win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night, giving him 10 RBI this week – the most in a league series since Nelson Cruz set the record with 13 in 2011.
He might have two more games to catch him.
“That guy [Seager] it̵
The Braves lead the 3-2 series.
“That guy is something else,” said Seager’s Atlanta manager Brian Snitker. “He’s one of those guys who never gets busy. He’s very impressive. He’s a dangerous and impressive hitter.”
During this series, as the Dodgers struggled to put together a coherent offensive against the Braves’ vaunted throwing staff, Seager acted as a constant force from point # 1. 2, filling out eight shots, six of them for extra bases, in 20 a – bats. From the start of the postseason, he beats .342 / .409 / .842. Since the start of the regular season, it has been beating .312 / .366 / .624.
“He’s healthy, he’s been healthy, he’s had a great year, the experience he’s had in the postseason – it’s all lining up right now,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “For me, there is no better player.”
With the Dodgers trailing by two in the fourth on Friday and 18 eliminations separating them from a stunning elimination, Seager threw a 415-foot high fastball into the center of the field to halve his team’s deficit.
With two eliminated in the seventh and the Dodgers looking to join in with an uncertain bullpen situation, Seager threw a first throw fastball, 95 mph in the middle and threw it 413 feet in the center right to make it 7-2 for L.A.
The 26-year-old shortstop became the Dodgers’ third player in a multihomer match when his team was facing elimination, joining Adrian Gonzalez (2013 NLCS) and Shawn Green (2004 NL Division Series). Seager is now the fifth player in Major League history with four home runs and 10 RBI in a single post-season series, joining Giancarlo Stanton (2020 American League Division Series), Cruz (2011 ALCS), B.J. Upton (2008 ALCS) and Jim Thome (1999 ALDS).
“I’m just putting good swings on good shots right now,” Seager said, “and it’s all kind of a click.”
That feeling escaped him last year. Seager was coming out of hip surgery, a procedure performed towards the end of his one-season recovery from Tommy John surgery, and was not at his peak as he sailed into 2019. He wasn’t strong enough in his lower half. . As the arduous season progressed, that lack of strength often led to indiscernible changes in its mechanics that ultimately weakened its production. He finished that season hitting .272 / .335 / .483 – good, but a far cry from his numbers in 2016 and 2017, when Seager emerged among the sport’s best young shorts.
This season he has shown that he is back among the game’s elite players, but he began this month looking to redeem himself in the playoffs, in which he had only beaten .203 / .275 / .331 in 31 previous games. Along the way, Seager said, he learned to simplify his approach and not put further pressure on himself to bring an offense when the stakes escalated, a mindset he hoped to apply this October.
Ten games later, Seager has already racked up 14 RBI, tied with Justin Turner for the most part by a Dodgers player in a single postseason.
“I didn’t know much before I came,” he said of Seager Betts, the new hitter of the Dodgers. “I just knew he was a good shortstop who could make it a little bit. And seeing him day after day is definitely a blessing. I really have a job: getting to base and staying there until he hits me, which doesn’t take long.”