Arozarena adds to tear with Game 1 homer

October 6th, 2020

continues to introduce himself to the baseball world, launching a solo home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole as part of a 3-for-4 night in the Rays’ 9-3 loss in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Monday at Petco Park.

Arozarena was one of the hottest hitters in baseball in September, hitting seven home runs and posting a 1.022 OPS after being called up by the Rays on Aug. 30. Despite his success, Arozarena remains a secret weapon for the Rays. The Yankees got a firsthand look at it in the first inning of Game 1.

Cole threw Arozarena two breaking balls to begin the at-bat, both balls. Once Arozarena got ahead in the count, the 25-year-old Cuban outfielder was able to sit on a fastball, crushing a 96 mph fastball from Cole over the center-field wall to tie the game at 1.

Including the postseason, Arozarena entered the ALDS with a .902 slugging percentage on fastballs this year, the highest of anyone in the Majors with at least 40 at-bats.

Arozarena’s first-inning blast had an exit velocity of 107.3 mph, according to Statcast, and the outfielder knew it was gone right away, as he stared into the Rays' dugout and released a simple but effective bat flip.

After adding singles in the fourth and fifth innings, Arozarena laced a 111.7 mph lineout in the seventh in his final at-bat. He is 7-for-12 this postseason with four extra-base hits.