Corey Seager is not ready to go home. In a must-win game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Braves at Globe Life Field on Friday, the Dodgers shortstop hit a couple of home runs, with the other giving Los Angeles a commanding five-run lead in the seventh inning
In a must-win game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Braves at Globe Life Field on Friday, the Dodgers shortstop hit a couple of home runs, the other giving Los Angeles a commanding five-run lead in the seventh inning of its 7-3 victory .
• NLCS presented by Camping World, game 6: 1
The 26-year-old has made his mark in the NLCS. The Seagers 10 RBIs are at this point most of a Dodgers player in a post-season series. His four homers in the series tie Steve Garvey (1978 NLCS) and Duke Snider (’52 and ’55 World Series) most of a Dodger in a playoff series.
“It has been fantastic [to watch him play], ”Said Dodgers player Mookie Betts. “I did not know much before I came by. I just knew he was a good shortstop, he could swing it a bit. Getting to see him day in and day out is certainly a blessing. I really have a job and that’s getting to the base and staying there, pretty much until he hits me – which does not take too long. ”
The Seagers’ first home run was a massive Statcast-estimated 415-foot shot from left-winger Tyler Matzek in the fourth to score the Dodgers’ first run of the night and cut the Braves’ lead to 2-1. Los Angeles gained offensive momentum from there and set the stage for Seager’s second homer three innings later – a Statcast-projected 413-foot explosion against Jacob Webb.
“That guy is something else,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a tough out. He fights. He never gives a bat away. He’s a very dangerous and impressive hitter.”
However, this kind of success on this stage is not something Seager has had much of in the past. Until this year, his playoff appearances had mostly been marked by battles at the plate, as exemplified by his stroke average in his first four record seasons: .188 (2015), .205 (’16), .237 (’17),. 150 (’19). His OPS peaked at .743 in ’17 compared to 1,251 this year.
He entered 2020 with three consecutive season home runs in 31 games. He has added five more in just 10 games this year.
“I think it’s a lot of it – he’s healthy, he’s been healthy, he’s had a great year,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “The experience he has had during the post season, all that is in line. For me, right now there is no better player. ”
– Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 17, 2020
What Seager takes on his success, he summed up his playoff tears by simply saying, “Just kind of putting good swings on good lanes right now, and all kinds of clicks.”
Let’s take a closer look at how well he clicks:
• Seager became the first Dodgers shortstop to record a multi-home run postseason game. He joined Carlos Correa (Game 1 of the American League Division Series) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series) as shortstops to achieve multi-homer play in the 2020 playoffs. This year marked for the first time in the history of the Major League post season that there have been three performances with several homes at shortstops; on the way into these playoffs there were only seven such games.
• With five homers and 14 RBIs in the post-season 2020 bound Seager Dodgers brands set by Davey Lopes (five homers) in 1978 and Justin Turner (14 RBIs) in 2017.
At his position, Seager runs only Correa (17 home runs, 48 RBIs) and Derek Jeter (20 home runs, 61 RBIs) among all shortstops with his eight homers and 24 RBIs over 41 career after season.
• Seager is the first player in any position to record both four home runs and 10 RBIs in a single NLCS. He is the latest player to hit four homers in this round since Daniel Murphy did so in 2015. Seager enters Game 6 tied with Ivan Rodriguez (’03) for most RBIs in an NLCS.
• This particular neutral side gives Seager and Dodgers an advantage: Seager’s five home runs at Globe Life Field this year (regular season and post-season) are tied with Rangers center-back Joey Gallo as the second most of any player this season. Only Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor hit more in 2020 (six).
For all the stats and notable lists, Seager’s focus is locked on performing in Game 6 and averting elimination, no matter where it lands him in the stats categories.
“The whole goal is to win. We have not done that yet, “he said. “So no matter what you do, if you do not win at the end of the year, it is not the same. We’re just trying to win a game tomorrow and let things happen. ”
Jessica Camerato covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato, Facebook and Instagram.