SAN DIEGO — Randy Arozarena — the hard-hitting, sweet-swinging, dance-battling star of the 2020 postseason — just keeps adding to his October legend.
• ALCS presented by GEICO, Game 6: Fri., 6 p.m. ET on TBS
SAN DIEGO —
During the Rays’ 4-3 loss in Thursday’s Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Arozarena launched his sixth home run of the playoffs, tying him with Evan Longoria (2008) for the most big flies by a rookie in postseason history. The Rays’ left fielder went with a knee-high fastball from Astros reliever Enoli Paredes and sent it a projected 406 feet to the opposite field.
Arozarena’s homer, his third in five games of the ALCS, brought the Rays within one in a tense Game 5 at Petco Park. He’s now just two hits shy of tying Derek Jeter’s postseason record of 22 by a rookie, set in 1996.
And it’s not just Arozarena’s bat. He can play defense, too. With one out in the sixth, Jose Altuve sent a rocket off the third-base bag and into left field. He tried to stretch it into a double, but Arozarena delivered a perfect one-hop strike, and Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe was there to apply the tag.
A little-known 25-year-old rookie acquired in a trade with St. Louis last offseason, Arozarena is making a huge name for himself this month. He finished the regular season strong after missing six weeks while on the COVID-19 injured list. But he’s taken his game to another level in October.
Arozarena is now hitting .417 in 12 games, and his 10 extra-base hits are the most for a Tampa Bay player in a single postseason. He surpassed Longoria and B.J. Upton for that mark with his opposite-field blast.
The way Arozarena is swinging right now, he’s probably not done.