LOS ANGELES -- Going into the All-Star break, it was clear who was the best Dodgers hitter. Corey Seager led the team in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and came just two RBIs from topping that stat, too.While the rest of the team's bats have
LOS ANGELES -- Going into the All-Star break, it was clear who was the best Dodgers hitter. Corey Seager led the team in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and came just two RBIs from topping that stat, too.
While the rest of the team's bats have awakened to offset the loss of Clayton Kershaw and make up ground in the National League West race, all Seager has had to do is keep his own pace. He did exactly that Monday night with his fourth career multi-homer game to help power a 9-4 win over the Phillies.
With two home runs, Seager passed Hanley Ramirez for the most homers by a shortstop in Los Angeles history. He is just the eighth rookie in Dodgers history to record a 20-homer season.
"When you don't think he can do any more, he continues to exceed that," manager Dave Roberts said. "But still, even the last week where he wasn't getting hits, he still didn't waver as far as preparation and mindset. Every time he comes up to bat, something special can happen."
Almost lost in an explosion of production for the Dodgers in the last month is that Seager has improved on a first half for which he arguably deserved to be an All-Star starter. After entering the All-Star break with a .297/.357/.521 line, he has since delivered a .321/.353/.580 line in 85 plate appearances.
"He's good, man. We all recognize that," Chase Utley said of Seager. "He's a special type of player and he's only going to get better, which is scary. He's cool, especially under pressure. Calm, cool and collected, don't usually see that from a 22-year-old."
That steadiness is unique in the Dodgers' offense this year. Justin Turner, Adrián González, Howie Kendrick, and Yasmani Grandal all saw slow starts to the season, but have all now registered OPS's above .800 since the beginning of July.
Grandal in particular has wielded a scorching bat, which was on display Monday when he went 2-for-3 with a homer, double, and walk to increase his post-June line to .353/.475/.768.
Since the All-Star Break, the Dodgers rank second in the NL with a .762 OPS. That might just be how they're tied for the NL's best record since June 26, Kershaw's last start.
"Roles don't change," Seager said. "It's been a team thing to be tough outs and we've been that the past month and a half, second half, whatever it's been. It's been really good."
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.