Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic seems to be putting it all together
The former first-round pick of the Mets, the centerpiece of the trade in which Seattle sent closer Edwin Diaz and second baseman Robinson Cano to New York in December 2018, hit just .168 in his first 500 major league at-bats entering this season.
However, the 23-year-old broke out this week in Chicago and will look to continue his hot streak when the Mariners open a three-game interleague series against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Friday night
With family and friends in attendance from his hometown of Waukesha, Wis., Kelenic homered in all three games against the Cubs.
The first long ball, in the ninth inning on Monday night, traveled 414 and hit the new scoreboard in right field to force extra innings.
On Tuesday, Kelenic went the opposite way for a 415-foot blast to left-center.
And Wednesday afternoon, he hit a 482-foot shot to center, halfway up the second level of bleacher seats, in a 5-2 victory.
It was the second-longest homer hit at Wrigley Field in the Statcast era (2015-present), trailing only a 491-foot homer by Willson Contreras in Game 4 of the 2017 National League Championship Series.
"That was the series of Jarred Kelenic," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "Wow."
Servais, who caught for the Cubs from 1995-98 during the height of the long-ball era, said, "It's about as far as they go to center field."
"Certainly, the wind was blowing out (Wednesday), but that ball was absolutely smoked," Servais said. "I played with Mr. (Sammy) Sosa for a few years. I never saw him go up to that level in center field."
Perhaps as a sign of his maturity, when asked about ranking the three homers, Kelenic -- who is batting .351 with a .415 on-base percentage and a .703 slugging percentage -- pointed to the opposite-field shot.
"Backside homers like that are my favorite," he said. "Anybody can pull the ball, but when you can hit a ball with true backspin the other way, that's the best swing in my book."
While the Mariners were going 3-3 on their six-game trip to Cleveland and Chicago, the Rockies went 3-4 on their opening homestand of the season against Washington and St. Louis
Defensive miscues led to losses in each of the last two games against the Cardinals.
An error by second baseman Ryan McMahon prompted a Cardinals comeback on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, first baseman C.J. Cron couldn't find the bag on a grounder to the right side of the infield with two outs in the eighth inning. Cron initially went after the ball, but then made a U-turn to cover the base when he realized McMahon would field it. Cron took the throw but missed the bag, keeping the inning alive for Nolan Gorman's two-run, tiebreaking homer.
The Cardinals went on to win 7-4.
"It seems like every little mistake is getting punished," Cron said. "That's just how it is right now, I guess."
The Rockies are scheduled to send left-hander Austin Gomber (0-2, 6.75 ERA) to the mound Friday against Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales (1-0, 4.22)
Gomber won his lone career start against the Mariners, pitching six innings of three-run ball on July 21, 2021, in Denver. Gonzales, a Colorado native, is 2-0 with a 4.60 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies
--Field Level Media