One or two hits can make the difference between advancing to the World Series and going home in a seven-game National League Championship Series. Imagine the impact of an NLCS-record-setting five-homer, 11-RBI performance.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was named the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS for his historic effort against the Braves following Los Angeles’ 4-3 pennant-clinching win on Sunday at Globe Life Field in Arlington. He wrapped up the championship round batting .310/.333/.897 with eight runs and 26 total bases, and he is the only NL player in history to hit five homers and drive in 11 runs in a postseason series.
“That was pretty cool,” Seager, 26, said of the award.
Seager’s name is now emblazoned in the NLCS record books. In addition to surpassing Daniel Murphy (2015) and Ivan Rodriguez (‘03) for series records in homers and RBIs, respectively, Seager tied Javy Lopez (1996) with seven extra-base hits and finished second in total bases behind only Albert Pujols, who had 28 against Houston in ‘04.
Add in his totals from the first two rounds of the playoffs and Seager is already the eighth player in Major League history with at least six home runs and 15 RBIs in a single postseason. This year, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa recorded six homers and 17 RBIs, but Houston was eliminated and Los Angeles is going to the World Series.
Seager, who became the first shortstop with more than three homers in any series, also tied Chase Utley (2009 World Series) for the most home runs by an NL player in one postseason round.
“I have one job, like I’ve said, and it’s just to get on base and let him hit me in,” leadoff hitter Mookie Betts said of Seager, who hits out of the two-hole. “He’s been like this all year. So obviously it’s amazing what he’s doing, but it’s kind of nothing new. We get spoiled by it every day.”
With the Fall Classic still left to play, Seager already has the franchise record for most homers and RBIs in a single postseason.
For all he has done at the plate, Seager, in his sixth season with the Dodgers, credits his teammates for putting him in this position to succeed.
“Obviously it wasn’t just me, though,” he said. “That was a complete team effort right there. One through 28 went out there and just absolutely grinded through that series. That was even a really fun Game 7 right there. That was a test every single night. We were up for it, and we’re up for the next step, too.”
The next step begins on Tuesday when the Dodgers take on the Rays in a World Series battle between the No. 1 seed from each league. Seager has 32 career plate appearances against Tampa Bay, slashing .321/.406/.429 with an .835 OPS, nine hits and seven RBIs in eight games.
“We’ve got to come ready to play baseball,” Seager said. “We came every night, it didn’t go our way sometimes, but at the end of the day, we’re still winning and we’ve just got to keep going.”