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NLCS: Jean Segura’s wild Game 3 through the lens of hockey’s plus-minus


No one on the field had a wilder Friday night than Jean Segura. 

He was up, and he was down. 

Electrifying, and deflating.

He would have you asking “HOW?!” in the best way one minute, then the same in the worst seconds later. 

But in the end, a near unexplainable two-run single in the fourth and a diving play after a ground ball to end the top of the seventh are what pulled through to get the Phillies to a 4-2 win over the Padres and a 2-1 series lead in the NLCS. 

There are a lot of ways to look at Segura’s night, but one in particular is through the lens of hockey’s plus/minus stat, which the FOX Sports commentary team of Joe Davis and John Smoltz even brought up following Segura’s error in the top of the fourth then go-ahead base hit just half a frame later. 

For the unfamiliar, plus-minus is a player’s goal differential when they’re on the ice – or, runs and field in this case. So a plus is a run for and a minus is a run against, which accumulates over the course of a game and season and can vary greatly depending on a player’s talent and overall team performance. 

“He broke even,” the FOX broadcasters joked after Segura gave the Phillies the lead.

But taking into account only scoring plays that involved Segura, he actually finished Friday night a plus above. 

Here’s the Game 3 tally:

Minus-1

The Phillies held a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth with one out and runners at the corners. In a 0-1 count, Padres shortstop Ha-Seong Kim grounded Ranger Suárez’ pitch to short.

That looked like it was going to set up the inning-ending double play but Segura, covering second, bobbled the flip from Bryson Stott. The runner at third scored and, after review, everyone was safe. The gasp from the Citizens Bank Park crowd could be heard from a mile away.

The game was tied, but Suárez stayed steady, getting Wil Myers to fly out and Jurickson Profrar to ground out in the next two at-bats. 

And Segura, in his first postseason after 11 years in the majors, didn’t stay down. 

“I made that mistake at second where I bobbled the ball, that’s probably the play that I make 3,000 times if it happened again,” Segura told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal postgame. “But that’s part of baseball. You learn from the mistake and keep going forward. I had a pretty good at-bat, important at-bat and in the next couple innings, I came through. I just…you know, it happened.”

Plus-2

It’s the bottom of the fourth and the Phillies were facing two outs against San Diego’s Joe Musgrove after Nick Castellanos grounded into a double play. 

Then Alec Bohm ripped a shared ground ball into center for a base hit, and Stott launched one into right field for a double to put runners at second and third, setting the stage for Segura as he stepped into the batter’s box.

With a 1-2 count, Musgrove delivered a pitch way low and outside but, somehow, Segura connected, looping it over the outstretched glove of second baseman Jake Cronenworth and into right. 

Two runs scored. 3-1, Phillies with a bat spike to follow up Rhys Hoskins’ from the week before. The cheers from Citizens Bank Park could be heard a mile away. 

Just one question: HOW?!

“I mean, I don’t know,” Segura told Rosenthal. “I just…my approach is always the same. I’m just trying to put the ball in play, especially with two strikes.”

Then he got picked off right away to end the inning…

But hey, plus-1 now. 

Hold the line

The Phillies reached into the bullpen, and despite a Brandon Drury single to second that slipped past Segura, Zach Eflin got them through the sixth after he forced Josh Bell into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

José Alvarado took over in the seventh, striking out two straight after Profar reached first on a single to center. In a 3-1 count, Kim sent a ground ball rolling to Segura’s right. He dove after it in the outfield grass and gloved it, sprung back up, and got the throw to Hoskins at first for the third out. The inning was over. Segura flexed and let out a roar with all 45,000-plus in attendance. “A rollercoaster night continues!” Davis exclaimed on the national broadcast.

“I almost started flexing with him. It was great,” catcher J.T. Realmuto said afterward (via MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola).

The Phillies held the line. Seranthony Domínguez was called in for the eighth and preserved the narrow 4-2 lead, notching his first career postseason save and the franchise’s first six-out save since Tug McGraw did it in the 1980 World Series

And Segura, after a Friday night wilder than anyone else’s on the field: A run allowed on a bizarre error, two runs for on what would stand as a game-winning base hit, and a diving play to keep things in order. 

That comes out to a plus-1 performance, but more importantly, a Game 3 win and a series lead.

“I didn’t let that error affect my next two, three at-bats,” Segura said via De Nicola. “I’m going to go there and continue enjoying the ride. I waited 11 years for the opportunity. I’m not going to go back. I’m going to do the best I can to continue to grind it, to continue to help the ballclub and to bring something positive every single day. I’ve just waited too many years for the opportunity, and I don’t want to let it go by.”


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