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2020 World Series – Randy Arozarena shines brightest in Tampa Bay Rays’ non-star approach to owning October



Let all of us, as fans of the game of America, think about the consequences of what we just saw: The Tampa Bay Rays go to the World Series. And Randy Arozarena was the MVP of a series of American League championships involving Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Jose Altowe, George Springer and Zack Greinke.

As we wait to see who comes out of another Game 7 on Sunday when the Los Angeles Dodgers face the Atlanta Braves in Texas, let’s admit that in the year of the pandemic we are on the verge of the World Series. That will happen. For so long this did not seem possible.

Then let’s admit that everyone who chose the beams to win the AL pennant before the shortened season began in July was in place. (This writer wasn̵

7;t one of them. Thanks, Yankees.) But let’s also reconsider the rationale for choosing the beams at the time, because that’s been outlined all this season. During this long postseason, a lot was exposed.

“You might think it’s a game of 60, get to the season and it’s just not the same,” said Rays Game 7 starter Charlie Morton. “But I’ve looked at the dugout on every team we’ve played on this season, and I know the guys we play care about, they want to win. Probably more this year than any other year. The motivation is to do it. for everyone else. “

The predicted love of Tampa Bay had more to do with the dude’s surgery than hitting them. Because Race had a decentralized crowd-feeding structure for many years, they seemed very appropriate for the frantic 60-game campaign we ended up with. Appetizers would not build. Indeed, no one would be built. So a club with exceptional feed depth and a plan for different pitcher uses will be well located.

If that doesn’t sound like the rays, nothing sounds. Certainly, as ALCS unfolded, Tampa Bay’s organizational approach emerged as momentary proof of the concept.

“The way we just gained talent through our small leagues and deals is amazing what [general manager] Eric Neander and the front office did it, “said Kevin Kiermeier.” It’s true. They made a great list and that’s why our talent and depth is what it is. If there’s one thing I’ve said, it’s that if there’s staff who can turn off the hot Astros, it’s our staff. “

True, but you have to score. The issue with Reyes’ violation was that their most productive strikers during the regular season were not productive during the playoffs – among them Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendell, Willie Adams and Michael Brosso. So did others, including the usual light-striker Mike Zunino and midfielder Manny Margo.

But no one has typed the next ray dynamics more than Arozarena.

Last season, Arozarena entered the major and won – for St. Louis. He had 0.891 OPS in just 19 games and was unbeaten in four games during the playoffs. He was then traded with Jose Martinez (since he was handed out) in exchange for potential client Matthew Liberator.

Well, players move around the major leagues, right? Arozarena looked good during her short stay in St. Louis, but sometimes players look good in short periods and change because their original team knows why this success will be fleeting. The only problem is that once the rays ask for a player, they have proven time and time again that your best answer should probably be, “No, thank you.” Because if the players like your player, then there is a lot to like.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve chased an MVP,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “I was just trying to do everything for the team.”

He almost did. This is not to fuck the cardinals, although as the years go by it may be impossible not to do so. But who could have imagined that Arozarena would do what she is doing this season?

See, players fall into hot streaks. This happens all the time, and when a player goes up, he doesn’t have to head to Cooperstown. The post-season series is by definition a parade with a small sample size, so you think there will always be a lot of unspoken characters who can fill in the playoff stories.

Yet what Arozarena has done is not normal. This is not a routine. Others have become as hot as he is during the season, but if you have any idea about the history of baseball, his name will jump into the list of the hottest seasons and catch your eye. Among the players who showed a higher OPS than 1,288 at Arozarena for at least 50 playoff appearances, you will find only Barry Bonds (1,559 in 2002), Carlos Beltran (1,557 in 2004), Paul Molitor (1,378 in 1993). ) and Alex Rodriguez (1,308 in 2009).

Then there is Arozarena. One of these names is not like the others.

“Ever since I was traded, I’ve felt like a family,” Arozarena said. “They welcomed me with open arms and gave me the freedom to be the player I want to be.”

But these are the rays. Just ask Zunino, who hosted Game 7 again and was accepted into the zero-noise zero-noise trade last year. Just ask Austin Meadows, saved from the status of a potential Pittsburgh bust. Ask Manny Margot, who just dominated a series played at Padres’ home ground, the club that sent him off last winter.

There are so many similar stories. The common denominator is a lesson that sounds simple, but if it really was, any team would learn it. The lesson Race has learned is that if you focus on what the player can do, not what he can’t, and put him in a position to do what he does well, that player can excel. Then, as a team, if you surround this player with other players who do good complementary things, it all adds up to a good baseball team. Of course, none of this is fodder for a sexy teaser from the World Series. But heck, it’s certainly effective.

“Man, that’s great,” Zunino said. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams here. I feel extremely grateful. This group of guys, this organization, what we had to endure this year. This is a special group.”

Beyond the aspect of anyone performing his part of the gaming list, there are machinations of manager Kevin Cash, who is some strangely enthusiastic Vulcan as logisticians come out. Speaking in a non-ego, it’s all about the players style of a successful World Series college coach who sets the stage for potential rookies. But he is also a ruthless supporter of the actuarial side of the game, following best analytical practices as if he had Spock’s dead emotional life.

Again and again, to the horror of baseball lifelongs, his interpretation of quantitative principles is spot-on. This happened again in the clinch.

Charlie Morton, the Rays veteran who played a key role in the 2017 Astros Championship, was in his game. After five innings, he withdrew 13 consecutive strikers from Houston and used only 49 pitches. No pitcher of Reiss has thrown a full game since May 14, 2016, when Matt Andrize did, but can it be repeated? After all, given Morton’s dominance and minimal terrain, why would you remove it?

After hitting Josh Reddick on three pitches to start the sixth, Morton led Martin Maldonado on four pitches. Springer became a force to be reckoned with. Altuve single, but it was an internal helicopter that was perfectly positioned. Morton was on 66 pitches, and while there was traffic at the bases, he still looked like the pitcher who commanded the game.

So, of course, Cash brought him out. And, of course, that was the right move.

“The thought of going to get it, I think we have to be in line with what we think is the right decision,” Cash said. “This does not mean [the decisions] they are not tough. They certainly are. We appreciate Charlie Morton so much for what he wears in our club on the field and definitely in the club house. “

Nick Anderson – the closest to the rays – got out of this sixth inning jam. He did just that, then placed seventh, and by the time he came out for Pete Fairbanks, he had won six outs. Fairbanks received the last four. Overall, Reiss threw just 114 pitches in the game, easily within Morton’s capabilities if he were allowed to cover the distance. But that’s not how these rays do these things.

Now the Rays are in the World Series. Just like in 2008, the next pennant season in Tampa Bay, there will be numerous studies on how a starless team with a bottom salary could end up in the World Series.

These tests are worth conducting, but in the end they will be empty. The rays succeed because they have to. You can apply the same principles and follow the same methods and crush the same numbers, but you probably can’t get the same answer. Because you are not the Rays.

The rays do not have superstars. They have a list full of great baseball players, even if many of the players on that list weren’t so special when working for someone else. It’s like rooting ants, or the result of Rotten Tomatoes, or voting in the All Star.

Keep this in mind when the beams match in the World Series against Dodgers or Braves. You can scan their list and wonder how this team of drones could end up in Fall Classic. Do not. The rays are the collective wisdom of the baseball tables.

“We believe in our process,” Cash said. “And we will continue to do that.”


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