ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Seager bashed his way to NLCS MVP.
Once the Los Angeles Dodgers finally finished off the Atlanta Braves, the choice was obvious.
Seager helped power Los Angeles to its third World Series in four years, and another chance to win its first title since 1988. The sweet-swinging shortstop set NLCS records with five homers and 11 RBIs as the Dodgers eliminated the Braves in seven games.
Even though he went 0 for 5 and left five runners on base in the Dodgers’ clinching 4-3 win Sunday night, Seager homered three times in the previous two games when they were also facing elimination.
“It wasn’t me, it was this team,” Seager said after accepting the MVP trophy.
The Dodgers matched an LCS record with their 16 homers, including clutch drives by Kiké Hernández and Cody Bellinger in Game 7.
Seager, the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year, homered twice in a 7-3 win in Game 5 on Friday night. The next day, his solo homer ignited a a three-run first inning that was more than enough as Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings in a 3-1 win.
There was a stretch of five consecutive plate appearances when Seager drove in a run — his last two at-bats in Game 2 and his first three in Game 3. That had only been done once before in the postseason, by Houston’s Carlos Beltran in 2004.
“That’s all it’s about, helping your team win. Doing what you can to help your team win,” Seager said earlier in the series. “Whether it’s moving a runner, whether it’s hitting a home run, whether it’s making a defensive play, whether it’s being a spark in the dugout, anything that can help this team get going.”
Seager’s six homers and 15 RBIs overall are already Dodgers records for a single postseason — passing the five homers by Davey Lopes in 1978 and Justin Turner’s 14 RBIs three years ago. Seager is the first shortstop with more than three homers in any series in MLB postseason history.
First-year Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, said he didn’t know much about Seager before he got to LA this year, other than he was a “good shortstop, could swing it a little bit.”
Now they are going to the World Series together. Betts was on the opposite side when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games in 2018, a season when Seager played only 26 games early before Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and then had a left hip issue addressed with an arthroscopic procedure.
“Getting to see him day in and day out is definitely a blessing,” Betts said during the series. “I have really one job, and that’s just to get on base and stay there pretty much until he hits me in, which doesn’t take long.”
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports