Rays' Arozarena claims two more playoff records
With one swing, Randy Arozarena tacked two records onto his historic playoff tear. The No. 19 Rays prospect’s ninth-inning home run in Game 3 of the World Series gave Arozarena 23 hits this postseason, eclipsing Derek Jeter’s 1996 mark for the most by a rookie. And because the knock left
With one swing,
The No. 19 Rays prospect’s ninth-inning home run in Game 3 of the World Series gave Arozarena 23 hits this postseason, eclipsing
A 6-2 Dodgers win in Game 3 on Friday means Arozarena has at least two more games to claim the home run record for his own. He said the hits record meant more because it's just that: his and only his. Neither, however, have been his main priority.
"It's good to be up in that group with those big hitters, Barry Bonds, but now I stand alone with the hits," Arozarena told reporters through a translator. " ... Of course, it's good to pass the hit record with the guy who held it so long, Derek Jeter, and now I stand alone. But what really means more is the win and hopefully get some victories for the team."
✅ Most hits in a single postseason by a rookie— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) October 24, 2020
✅ Tied for most homers by any player in a single postseason#Rays No. 19 prospect Randy Arozarena is legit. pic.twitter.com/jHmxrCLbYA
Arozarena went 1-for-4 at Texas’ Globe Life Field, set down thrice by Dodgers right-hander
But the Cuba native faced closer
The solo shot was Arozarena’s second hit of the World Series. He singled in Game 2 for his first knock since earning AL Championship Series MVP honors. In that pennant-winning round, the first-year Rays outfielder was 9-for-28 (.321) with four homers. He also went deep in each of the first three ALDS games against the Yankees and collected four hits -- three for extra bases -- in Tampa Bay's two-game sweep of the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round.
"Still no explanation for it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I've heard some of the names that he is tied with or passing and that's pretty special territory. You look at a guy like Derek Jeter and his career and then you add the postseason, it's remarkable what he's done. Randy hasn't had the opportunities, but he has certainly made the most of it in his first chance.
“We're not having the success we've had to date without his production. We were all happy for him to get the big home run there."
It has been a remarkable performance, given Arozarena’s path to this point. He made his Major League debut for the Cardinals in August 2019, was traded in January and didn’t appear in a game in 2020 until the end of August. Now, though, three more hits for Arozarena would tie the record by any player -- rookie or not -- in the postseason.
With his prospect status still intact, Arozarena would be eligible for the American League Rookie of the Year award next season. So, too, would sixth-ranked Rays prospect
"He hasn't pitched in Triple-A yet, but he's pitched in the World Series,” Cash said with a laugh. “And he hasn't pitched in a regular-season game in the big leagues. I think this is great for him. They battled him really, really well. His pitch count got a little higher than you want for three or four batters faced, but he stayed at it and threw strikes. Very encouraged with Shane."
Game 4 is Saturday at 8:08 p.m. ET.
Joe Bloss is a contributor for MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.