Just how clutch are the Mariners’ top hitters? ESPN’s Schoenfield explains
The Mariners are a clutch team.
How else can you explain their six walk-off wins and 21-9 record in one-run games this year?
Mitch Haniger alone has two walk-off home runs under his belt this season, including his two-run shot that won Wednesday’s game against the Angels. That homer also drove in Jean Segura, who himself has a walk-off single to his credit this year and has been an exceptionally tough out when games are on the line.
Mariners manager Scott Servais made sure to point out how important those two All-Star candidates have been in the late innings after Wednesday’s win.
“Mitch has had just an unbelievable run. I think the focus late in games, we continue to see it. Both he and Jean, especially late in the games, they’re not going to get out,” Servais said. “The competitiveness both those guys have, making adjustments, having a feel of what pitchers are gonna do, it’s been awesome to watch. I’m really glad they got our uniform on.”
So, just how clutch have they been?
Using the Clutch stat from Fangraphs (explained here), Segura ranks as the second-most clutch hitter in the majors with a 1.00 mark, behind only the Yankees’ Brett Gardner (1.07). Haniger, meanwhile, has an above-average 0.29 mark. Where he’s really been coming through, however, is with the long ball.
“Mitch Haniger, 11 of his 16 home runs have come in the seventh inning or later. He’s been super clutch, as we saw yesterday,” said David Schoenfield, ESPN baseball writer for the SweetSpot blog, to John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle on Thursday.
Schoenfield agrees with Servais that Segura also deserves some credit for what he’s been doing late in game.
“Jean Segura, he’s been one of the most clutch hitters in the majors. … I know the talk out there of course, get him on the All-Star team. He certainly deserves it with his all-around play.
“Those two guys really just seem to pick it up a notch in the late innings.”
Schoenfield covered several more topics about the Mariners with Clayton, including why getting Denard Span was an “astute trade” by general manager Jerry Dipoto and what the combination of Segura and leadoff man Dee Gordon have given Seattle that is hasn’t had in a long time. You can hear the full segment in this podcast of Thursday’s show.