SEATTLE -- Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez, almost traded to the Blue Jays on July 31, had one of the best months of his Major League career in August, and he has been selected as one of the six finalists for the "MLB Clutch Performer of the Month Presented by Pepsi." Other finalists for the award, which recognizes the player who consistently performed his best when the game was on the line, are Indians pitcher Cliff Lee, Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe, Brewers lefty CC Sabathia and Mets ace Johan Santana. The winner will be selected via an online ballot (www.pepsiclutch.mlb.com). Voting started on Friday, and it runs through 8:59 p.m. PT on Wednesday. The winner will be announced on Sept. 12.
Ibanez drove in 31 runs during his torrid August, matching his single-month career high, previously accomplished in July 2002 when he was with the Royals. He drove in at least one run in 15 of the 28 games he played in August, including six in one inning. That happened in the seventh against the Twins on Aug. 4 at Safeco Field. With the Mariners trailing, 6-1, going into the frame, the club scored a season-high 10 runs. Ibanez drove in the first four runs with his 16th home run of the season and the final two runs with a bases-loaded single with two outs in the inning. The grand slam was the second of the season and seventh of his career. Another highlight-reel kind of game occurred on Aug. 17, also against the Twins, this time at the Metrodome. Ibanez went 5-for-5 with two doubles and one RBI. It was the third five-hit game of his career. Ibanez went into August batting .280, and he ended it with a .305 mark. At the conclusion of the season, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the "Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Year Presented by Pepsi." The award will be presented during the postseason.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.