Segura does it all -- and flexes -- to delight of Philly fans

Second baseman shakes off miscues to hit game-winner, make amazing grab

October 22nd, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Good luck deciding who was more hyped up to close out the top of the seventh inning on Friday night: Phillies second baseman Jean Segura or the sellout crowd of 45,279 at Citizens Bank Park.

Following his second stellar defensive play -- this one a diving stop into shallow right to rob Ha-Seong Kim in a two-run game -- Segura flexed his arms before sending a punch toward the sky.

“I'm fired up,” Segura said. “I don't know how to explain that, but it's like … fire inside my body. I just want to get it out, like explosive ... ‘Ahh!’ If you don't get emotional with 45,000 people in the stands or 46,000 people in the stands, you're playing the wrong sport.”

Added catcher J.T. Realmuto: "I almost started flexing with him. It was great."

It took Segura 11 years to reach the postseason stage, so his outpouring of emotions proved cathartic. Until this fall, he was the active leader in most regular-season games played (1,328) without a playoff appearance. The 32-year-old is making the most of it.

Segura did it all, both good and bad, in a 4-2 victory over the Padres in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. Philadelphia holds a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven playoff series.

In the fourth, Segura became the first player in postseason history to do the following in one inning: commit an error, record an RBI and get picked off a base.

With Philadelphia up 1-0, Jake Cronenworth stepped to the plate with runners at the corners and one out. Left-hander Ranger Suárez induced a grounder that shortstop Bryson Stott fielded and threw to Segura for a possible double play, but he dropped the ball, allowing the game to be tied.

Segura redeemed himself in the bottom half of the frame. With a pair of runners in scoring position and two outs, Segura golfed Joe Musgrove’s 1-2 slider low and outside the zone for the go-ahead two-run single. It marked his second game-winning RBI of the postseason.

“That's awesome for him,” first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. “It's great. I know the confidence goes through the roof once something like that happens. But as soon as we go to the mound, he tells Ranger, ‘Hey, give me another one right away.’ That's just the type of mentality that I think you have to have, and it was awesome to see Jean come through.”

Segura made contact with a pitch 0.99 feet off the ground, giving him his fourth base hit this season on a pitch below one foot off the ground. He had a similar swing in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series (0.77 feet). Only three batters have more hits on pitches 0.99 feet above the ground or lower this year, including the playoffs.

"He's shown it time and time again this year he's one of the best breaking-ball, out-of-the-strike-zone hitters,” Realmuto said. “He just finds a way to put it in play. That's what he's really done for us all season long. You saw it in the Cardinals game. Then tonight, we were all making a joke in the dugout, 'I can't believe they threw him a chase breaking ball.' Yeah, not many people can put the bat on the ball like that."

But the fourth inning ended on an anticlimactic note, as Musgrove immediately picked off Segura at first.

Three innings later, Segura came through with the glove with a runner at first and two outs. When Kim shot a ball to the right side, Segura dove into the right-field grass, hopped up and fired to Hoskins for the out. He had made a similar play in the third inning. This season, Segura finished with four outs above average (13th best among second basemen); two of those came on lateral plays towards first base.

Although he’s a postseason newbie, the veteran has been able to handle the pressure. Segura credits growing up in the Dominican Republic, where the stakes of playing baseball are always high. 

“I like the pressure,” said Segura, who is batting .286 with five RBIs this postseason. “Regardless, I just want to thank God that I would be able to come through in those types of moments. But I love it. Even when I made a mistake early in the game, there were a lot of things going through my mind. You know what? It's another game. Maybe I get an opportunity later in the game to win the game or maybe to do something special tonight. 

“I didn't let that error affect my next two, three at-bats. I'm going to go there and continue enjoying the ride. I waited 11 years for the opportunity. I'm not going to go back. I'm going to do the best I can to continue to grind it, to continue to help the ballclub and to bring something positive every single day. I’ve just waited too many years for the opportunity, and I don't want to let it go by.”