Future rising: Lewis, Kelenic power Mariners

May 25th, 2021

The future is now.

and both homered in the Mariners’ 4-2 win over the A’s on Monday at Oakland Coliseum. It was the first time both outfielders have gone yard in the same game, and if all goes according to plan, it won’t be the last time.

“Exciting to see Lewis and Kelenic go deep,” said manager Scott Servais. "I think that’s what we’re looking forward to for many years to come. Both those guys really squared the ball up tonight."

Lewis sent one to the moon with a two-run shot, easily clearing the first section of the left-field bleachers. At 109.7 mph, Lewis’ home run was the hardest ball he's hit all season. The long ball traveled 425 feet, per Statcast. Before Lewis officially started to trot around the bases, he added a little flair, flipping his bat while admiring his work.

Kelenic did his best to outdo his teammate with his solo blast in the fifth, turning on a 94 mph fastball from A's starter Frankie Montas and sending it into the right-field stairs. Like Lewis, Kelenic knew it was gone off the bat, taking a second to admire his work before making his ceremonial jog.

“It was a cool moment, especially with him trying to get himself going as well,” Lewis said. “It was just cool to see. I was proud of him. He continues to work hard and he’ll get his momentum as well.”

For all the buzz Kelenic and Lewis generated with their bats, they showed off their gloves as well. In the first inning, Kelenic sprinted for what felt like an eternity to track down Matt Olson’s towering fly ball in foul territory. Kelenic covered 115 feet and topped out at 28.8 feet per second, the fastest he’s ran on a Major League diamond thus far.

Lewis showed that he’s not too shabby with the glove as well, making a diving play in the third inning to take extra bases away from Chad Pinder.

To put the cherry on top of Kelenic and Lewis’ big nights, both youngsters also showed patience by drawing a walk (in Lewis' case, two).

"I thought the walk in the first inning was awesome,” Servais said of Kelenic, who would later score on an RBI double by Mitch Haniger.

The hope in Seattle is that the parallels between Kelenic and Lewis aren’t limited to just this one game. Lewis, of course, was last season’s American League Rookie of the Year. The Junior Circuit has quite the impressive rookie class this season, headlined by the exploits of Adolis García, Yermín Mercedes and Randy Arozarena, among others. If Kelenic can have some luck on his side, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him join the race.

For Kelenic, his solo shot likely brought about a jolt of confidence. Coming into play Monday, he had just two hits in his last 29 at-bats. Some of those struggles could be attributed to bad luck, but Kelenic described the results as “frustrating” nonetheless.

Prior to the game, Servais said Kelenic’s ability to do the right things -- swing at the right pitches, minimize swings and misses and put the ball in play -- will eventually reap results. Talk about great timing.

Lewis hasn’t been scuffling at the plate, but his home run was his first since May 4, as well as his first extra-base hit since May 7. He’s shown a more disciplined approach as of late, and now the power might be coming along for the ride.

“With the ability I have to hit the ball hard, at some point, those things will come in bunches and it will get a little momentum in that way,” Lewis said.

Between the homers, walks and gems, it was a great showcase for Seattle’s future. Kelenic and Lewis helped carry the Mariners to a win with their bats, a sentence that should excite everyone in the Emerald City.

Don’t be surprised if there are more nights like tonight.