Guess they forgot what worked against the Phillies already.
Why Sewald, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ closer, threw Seager a first-pitch fastball, and to that location no less, is a question that lingered Friday night after the Rangers’ 6-5 victory on Adolis García’s walk-off homer in the 11th inning.
Including the playoffs, Seager has swung at a major-league high 53 percent of first-pitch fastballs this season, according to STATS Perform. Since entering the league in 2015, his 46 percent swing rate on first-pitch fastballs is also the highest in the majors.
Counting all first pitches, only the Rays’ Christian Bethancourt swung at a higher rate than Seager in 2023, minimum 300 plate appearances.
Knowing that, and knowing the damage Seager has done on first pitches — a .361 batting average, 13 homers, seven doubles and a 1.093 OPS — Sewald probably should have started Seager far outside the zone, perhaps in another state.