With the result of his game against the Detroit Tigers hanging in the balance in the bottom of the ninth inning, Fraley hustled back to the fence at Comerica Park, took a big leap and made an incredible grab of a fly ball that seemed certain to land on the other side for a winning home run.
Not only did Fraley rob Isaac Parades of a tie-breaking walk-off homer, but he also bounced off the fence and fired the ball back into the infield to start a double play, getting Eric Haase at first base. Haase, before retreating, reasonably thought the ball would be uncatchable.
This is Aaron Goldsmith on the call for Root Sports Northwest TV:
Crack-up job, Aaron! Let’s hear that again.
And that’s not all for ol’ Frales: He also had the go-ahead RBI single in the 11th, helping the Mariners beat the Tigers 9-6. Have a night, Jake Fraley!
His play was eerily similar to the one famously made by Endy Chavez of the New York Mets in Game 6 of the 2006 National League Championship Series. The overall stakes were higher, but it wasn't the bottom of the ninth like in Fraley’s case. Regardless, the play by Chavez remains one of the best ever made in a postseason game:
Fraley said one thing that helped him make the play was the Mariners playing deep, “no doubles” defense in the outfield. No doubles, no homers, no nothing. Otherwise, he says, he probably wouldn’t have been able to catch the ball.
“Making that play is all about timing and getting back as soon as possible,” Fraley said.
The Mariners also got a big game from another outfielder, Dillon Thomas, who came up with a great catch earlier in the game, plus a run-scoring single — his first career hit — in extra innings. Thomas was pure poetry out there and the Mariners did not go quietly into that good night.
While it’s an extreme example of Fraley contributing, his play was not a one-off event.
The 26-year-old is slashing .257/.500/.486 with two homers, 10 RBIs and three stolen bases in 52 plate appearances. His walk-to-strikeout ratio is 16 to 12. After being injured in the early part of the season, he’s taking advantage of opportunities created by injuries to others and struggling performances on the Seattle roster. Fraley is showing he belongs in the majors after getting nearly 1,100 plate appearances in the minors, where he hit .288/.365/.485.
Mariners fans could always use some good news, and that news right now is the play of Jake Fraley and Dillon Thomas.