Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays is chasing rookie history, but his teammates have struggled at the plate
Randy Arozarena hit another home run for the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, and his teammate, Brett Phillips, held up a sign that is a pretty good reflection of what Arozarena’s has done since September.
Though the Rays dropped the game, 4-3, after a brief ninth-inning rally, Arozarena’s offense remained hot.
He hit a 375-foot home run in the third inning that tied the game at the time, 2-2.
That marks the fifth home run of this postseason for the rookie outfielder. He’s one behind the rookie record set by Evan Longoria — 6, set in 2008 during the Rays’ Word Series run, per Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Through 11 games, Arozarena is batting .442/.489/.907 with 1.396 OPS. In addition to the home runs he has three doubles and a triple. He has scored 12 runs and drove in seven RBI.
Tompkin also noted Arozarena is “within three of matching Derek Jeter’s rookie record of 22 from 1996.”
So that’s pretty good company to keep.
Although he might be relatively unknown as a household name, Arozarena’s success should come as no surprise.
About the only hole you can find in his game right now is too many strikeouts. Twelve of his 43 at-bats have ended in a K. Three of those came in Game 4.
Not that strikeouts are everything — clearly. Concentrating on the negative when there’s so much positive isn’t a great look.
The Rays on the whole, though, need to put the bat on the ball a little more often and a little bit better.
For the series, Tampa Bay is batting .197 with 46 strikeouts in 197 at-bats. They have just nine extra-base hits for a team slugging of .331. Six players have one extra-base hit, only two have more.
Although the relatively cold bats haven’t hurt the Rays much in the series, it certainly makes things a little more dramatic and puts more pressure on their pitching staff.
Never fear, however. Phillips has a sign for that, too.