The Tampa Bay Rays may have lost game on of the American League Division Series to the New York Yankees, but there were still a couple of positive things to take away from the 9-3 defeat.
Randy Arozarena is a show that just doesn’t stop
Randy Arozarena scorched opposing pitching during his debut with the team in September.
Randy Arozarena scorched the Toronto Blue Jays during the brief two game Wild Card Round series at Tropicana Field.
Now, Randy Arozaerna scorched the New York Yankees in game one of the ALDS as he racked up three hits, including a homerun, in four trips to the plate.
With exit velocities of 107 and 111, behind his second consecutive three hit playoff game, and a HR to dead center off Gerrit Cole, it’s hard to deny this kid is a star.
Ji-Man Choi continues to burn fossil fuel
Ji-Man Choi started his first game for the Rays on Monday for the first time since going down with a hamstring injury on September 12th during a game against the Boston Red Sox. He did make a couple of appearances during the Wild Card Round against Toronto as a pinch hitter (going hitless over three trips to the plate).
However, one of the main talking points before the game was how well Ji-Man Choi had fared against the Yankees ace. Prior to the start of the game, Choi had 9 hits, including three homeruns, in 21 trips to the plate against
Kermit Gerrit Cole.
Once the game started, Choi continued his campaign for burning Cole as he launched a go-ahead two run homerun in the bottom of the 4th.
New York would wisely intentionally walk Choi during his next trip to the plate after Cole fell behind 2-0 in the count.
Ryan Thompson sidearms his way into the national spotlight
During the minor league phase of the 2018 Rule 5 draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected right-handed pitcher Ryan Thompson from the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A club for the Houston Astros. These selections are usually just meant to be organization filler, but Thompson proved to be much more than this.
He was assigned to the Rays alternate spring site this Summer and than surprisingly made a member of the team’s Opening Day roster. Thompson would be optioned a couple of times during the season, but overall displayed decent numbers as he finished the year with a 4.44 ERA / 4.33 FIP over 26 1⁄3 innings pitched.
Thompson pitched in a game during the Wild Card Round, retiring all four batters he faced, including two by strikeout. Then, during Monday’s series opener, Thompson was the first reliever to come in the game after Blake Snell allowed his four runs over five innings.
Thompson did get himself into danger as he allowed three basehits and also hit a batter (not intentionally, this should also be noted as a positive). He worked his way out of this by inducing two double plays during his two innings on the mound and he kept the Yankees off the scoreboard.
With Kevin Cash choosing to save the big names in the bullpen during Game 1, these two innings could prove valuable to the Rays through the rest of the series.
Game two of the ALDS against the New York Yankees is tonight at 8 p.m. EST on TBS.