What makes last 2 HRs by Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic his most impressive

Apr 23, 2023, 2:17 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2023, 10:34 am

Seattle Mariners Jarred Kelenic...

Mariners LF Jarred Kelenic celebrates his home run against St. Louis on April 23, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It seems like every game or two early on this Seattle Mariners season, Jarred Kelenic does something that makes baseball fans stand at attention.

Two Takes: What one Seattle Mariners fix would make the biggest difference?

A 482-foot blast to an area seldom reached at Chicago’s Wrigley Field? Check.

Homers in four straight games? Check.

A career-best 10-game hitting streak? That too.

What the 23-year-old Kelenic did in the Mariners’ weekend series at T-Mobile Park should take the cake, though.

While the moonshot Kelenic hit against the Cubs will probably be remembered for longer, the home runs that he smashed on Saturday and Sunday against the Cards are arguably even more impressive. The reason? Both came on inside pitches, and he was able to take them over the wall to left field. And if you know anything about hitting, you know how hard it is to hit the ball with authority to the opposite field when the pitch is on the inner half of the plate.

On Saturday, Kelenic displayed this eye-popping ability on a 93 mph fastball that was down and in from St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas.

The shot went 370 feet and was had a 102 mph exit velocity, tying the M’s with the Cardinals in the second inning. Kelenic would later add a double as Seattle came back for a 5-4 win that clinched the series ahead of Sunday’s series finale.

As crazy as that feat of strength was, Kelenic one-upped himself in his first plate appearance on Sunday.

Once again, Kelenic took a pitch down and in over the wall in left field. But this time, it wasn’t a fastball. He instead put a charge into an 83 mph slider from Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, meaning there was even less initial velocity to transfer into the ball. Still, Kelenic was able to produce a 99 mph exit velocity for a 357-foot solo blast that cut into St. Louis’ two-run lead and jump-started a three-run second inning for the M’s (Seattle would eventually lose 7-3).

Following Sunday’s homer, Kelenic moved into the team lead with six on the season. He’s also pacing the team in every slash line statistic (.333/.392/.687) as well as OPS (1.089). And when you consider that he’s driving inside pitches the other way like he is, something you rarely see even in the big leagues, it’s easy to understand why.

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