There are times when every Rays fan has been thinking “Wow. When did Matt Joyce become a star?” Other times, you had to wonder why Joyce was in the big leagues, let alone in the middle of the Rays lineup. On Saturday, the thoughts were geared towards the former. Joyce entered the game for the Rays in the 7th inning yet somehow slammed two home runs. It was the 60th case in MLB history of a player entering a game as a substitute and hitting 2 home runs. It was the 6th time in MLB history that a player entered a game as a sub and hit 2 homers and also drew a walk. They were his first home runs since September 1st and just his 6th since June. It was his first multi-homer game of the season and second of his career. His other was in 2008 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. It was a surprising game for Joyce, and certainly an odd one. What does it mean? Is it just a game we’ll laugh about when it’s randomly brought up by the Rays’ announcers? Or will it be a turning point? The Rays have four critical games remaining. They need to win all four games just to have a chance to make the postseason. And they need all the offense they can get. Joyce has the ability to go off. He has the ability to look like one of the best players in the game for weeks at a time. The Rays have four games left. For four games, they need Matt Joyce locked in and at his absolute best. Can this bizarre game finally be the turning point that Joyce has been waiting for months to find?
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