On Wednesday night, rookie center fielder Jared Kelenic came up to the plate with two on, one out, and his club trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth in a game that the Mariners desperately needed to win. At the end of his plate appearance, the M’s had a one-run lead while Kelenic stood on second.
It became obvious that September was going to be a different month for Kelenic when he tore the cover off of the ball in Kansas City, Mo. During that series he hit a bunch of dingers, culminating in three homers in three games.
His offensive explosion powered the M’s to a much needed series win that brought them back from the dead after a dreadful series against Arizona in Seattle — during which he hit this mammoth blast. Kelenic has absolutely been on fire in September as he’s hit .242/.324/.538 with a wRC+ of 136 in 102 plate appearances. His walk rate has increased to 10.8% and he’s absolutely crushing the ball (his isolated slugging percentage is .297) while his BABIP is still insanely low at .254.
So what’s been the difference for Kelenic in the final month of the season? It’s that he’s absolutely slaughtering right handed pitchers (to the tune of a 203 wRC+). They’ve been leaving pitches on the outer half of the plate, about belt high, and he’s absolutely made them pay for it.
Unfortunately, despite the hot month, Kelenic has still struggled against lefties (28 wRC+ against) and we saw Joe Maddon take advantage of that during the M’s series in Anaheim. And that’s the club the M’s have up next on the schedule for the final three games of this absolutely insane 2021 season.
Kelenic has done his best to pull this offense kicking and screaming into the wild card race, and the M’s are only 1/2 game back of Boston with three to go.
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