If I would’ve told you at the beginning of the season that Randy Arozarena and Mike Brosseau would lead the Rays to their first championship series since 2008, you would probably think I had lost my mind. It’s starting to become a trend as year in and year out, some young “no-names” come out of nowhere and shine for Tampa Bay. The stories of this year’s surprise stars will surely give you chills.
Randy Arozarena is a native of Cuba where he played ball like it was the only thing in his life. He always had a dream to be on the big stage in the MLB and I’d say that dream officially came true this past week. Arozarena had a tough childhood as his father who was also his role model in life passed away when he was only 15 years old. Randy dedicated his life to playing professional baseball from that point on. His passion got him through all of the adversity that came his way. At the beginning of this season, he was sidelined with a positive Covid test. Arozarena used that time of quarantine to get stronger, both spiritually and physically. He gained 15 lbs of muscle during that period of time and immediately used his newfound strength when he got called up to the Rays in late August. Since he joined the Rays lineup, he had a .281 average with 7 HRs and 11 RBIs in the regular season. He hasn’t skipped a beat in the postseason as he’s gone 12-for-27 with 3 bombs (all in the ALDS). He has definitely made the most of his opportunities and hopefully he will be able to stay hot for the rest of the playoffs.
The man, the myth, the legend: Mike Brosseau became a Tampa Bay hero last night when he launched an 8th inning go-ahead homerun off of prestigious Yankees closer, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman and Brosseau had some drama during the regular season as Chapman threw a 101 mph pitch over Brosseau’s head on September 1st. Mike blasted two long balls the next game against the Yanks, but his revenge tour wasn’t quite over. When the undrafted kid came up to bat late in the game last night against Aroldis, there wasn’t a soul at Petco Park that didn’t at least think about the possibility of a storybook type of payback from Brosseau. The ending was so poetic and it just shows that karma and clutch are very real in the game of baseball.
The Rays will take on the Houston Astros for the 2nd straight year, but this time with a chance to go to the World Series. This Houston squad is much different from last year’s team. The pitching staff has lost a lot of strength as they don’t have Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander on the roster for the ALCS. The offense didn’t lose many players, but they had underwhelming performances as a whole in the regular season. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer have caught fire so far this postseason, but they haven’t faced the stable yet this season and they won’t know what pitch is coming.