LB in MLB: Long Beach Eyes On Postseason Races

It’s about that time of year when Major League Baseball fans start looking closely at the playoff races, and there’s a few players with ties to Long Beach who are important pieces for postseason contenders. Two of them crossed paths on Monday in Seattle.

Lakewood High alum J.P. Crawford entered the week riding a six-game hitting streak for the Seattle Mariners. The shortstop has been leading off and is hitting .266 which ranked 59th in the league. Seattle is fourth place in the American League West, but is only 3.5 games back in the Wild Card hunt.

Right in front of the Mariners in those standings are the Boston Red Sox (-2.5 games back) who came to Seattle on Monday. In the ninth inning, Crawford made an includible game-ending diving catch behind second base to seal a 6-2 win.

“We all take pride in all we do defensively too because we know that’s a way that we can win ballgames,” Mariners All-Star Julio Rodríguez said of Crawford’s play.

Long Beach State Dirtbags product Jarren Duran was also leading off for Boston in Seattle. The center fielder is hitting .314 this season with an .879 OPS in 280 at bats. He has 11 hits in the last nine games.

Duran also had a highlight worthy play on Monday in Seattle when he walked and stole second base. He took third base on an errant throw into center, and then came all the way home on another error. He has 23 stolen bases in 85 games.

Hitting behind Duran in the Boston lineup on Monday was Justin Turner, who was born in Long Beach. He had an RBI in the loss, and is ranked 11th in the league with 71 RBI this season. His .286 batting average is ranked 16th. Those statistics are even more impressive considering that Turner bounced back from getting hit in the face with a fastball in March.

In the National League, Millikan High School alum Spencer Steer has become a mainstay in the Cincinnati Reds lineup as they’ve become one of the best storylines of the season while leading the NL Central. Steer, 25, made his MLB debut last season and is already ranked top 50 in the league this season with a .271 batting average (45th), 58 RBI (40th) and an .810 OPS (46th). He is also 64th with 15 home runs.

Steer came home and had three hits and three RBI in Los Angeles last weekend when the Reds took two of three games at Dodger Stadium.

Lakewood High School alum Travis d’Arnaud is sharing time with Sean Murphy behind the plate for the Atlanta Braves, who lead the NL East by 11 games. In only 42 games this season because of injury, d’Arnaud is hitting .258 with 25 RBI and nine home runs.

*Season Statistics through Monday night

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.