Randy Steals Boston Red Sox’ Lunch
A straight steal of home plate in the Major League Baseball playoffs or World Series is something you see Jackie Robinson do in a Ken Burns documentary or you may have seen Javier Baez do it a five years ago when he was with the Chicago Cubs against the San Francisco Giants. Nonetheless, it's rare. Last night in the first game of the American League Division Series featuring the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, we got to see it again in the Rays 5-0 victory over the Red Sox.
In the seventh inning of Thursday night's game, Rays outfielder Randy Aronzarena, who had an amazing night, was on third base with two outs. The Boston Red Sox had left-handed pitcher Josh Taylor on the mound. The Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was playing off of the base. The extra space allowed the speedy Arozarena to take a huge lead. As Taylor began his motion and came set, the Rays outfielder broke for home. Taylor stepped off the rubber and fired home but not in time to get Randy. By the time catcher Christian Vázquez caught the ball, Arozarena already had dove in headfirst swiping the plate.
At first I had no idea what was happening. Players stealing home just isn't that common and I couldn't love that kind of hustle anymore. Playoff baseball is awesome when played like that. According to MLB.com's Adam Perry, the Tampa Bay Rays manager was asked if his left-fielder plays at a higher gear in the postseason, “The home run certainly felt that way. The steal of home, that was one of the cooler things I’ve seen on a baseball field,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Special player. He certainly gets up for the moment. He has proven that day in and day out, and definitely when it’s postseason time.”
Game 2 of the series is tonight. The Red Sox will hang their hopes on 32 year old left-hander Chris Sale, who has been solid since his return from Tommy John surgery.