Randy Arozarena’s postseason breakout reached new heights during Game 3 of the World Series.
The Tampa Bay Rays outfielder broke a postseason rookie record held by Derek Jeter and tied a postseason home run record shared by Barry Bonds when he blasted a ninth-inning solo shot during the Rays’ 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That is elite company.
It’s also mighty impressive for a rookie who has never been known for his power and had just eight career home runs coming into the postseason.
Randy Arozarena passes Derek Jeter
As amazing as Arozarena’s home run feat is, the record everyone has been tracking since the ALCS was his pursuit of Derek Jeter’s rookie-record 22 hits during the 1996 postseason. After tying Jeter’s mark with a single in Game 2, Arozarena officially passed the Hall of Famer with his home run in Game 3 — with the Rays scout who singled him out as a trade target watching in the stands.
That’s a lot of hits.
Given Arozarena’s status as a relative unknown, one might assume the expanded postseason played a major role in breaking Jeter’s record. While it certainly helped — Jeter did it in 15 games, while Arozarena needed 16 to tie and 17 to break the record — there’s no need to dismiss or downplay it on account of 2020 being an unusual circumstance. Oh, and commissioner Rob Manfred likes the expanded postseason anyway, so this might be the new norm sooner than later.
Here’s another reality. Until the home run, Arozarena had actually been fairly quiet in the World Series, going just 1-for-10 with three strikeouts. The Rays may not have realized how much they needed Arozarena’s bat even three weeks ago. They fully understand his importance now, and will hope Friday’s home run gets him firing on all cylinders again.
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