October 7, 2020 | 11:30pm
The Yankees have a new playoff tormentor on their hands — though to be fair, Randy Arozarena has destroyed everything in sight lately, pinstriped or not.
The Rays outfielder continued his torrid ALDS on Wednesday night, racking up three more hits and homering for a third straight game, on the way to an 8-4 win over the Yankees in Game 3 at Petco Park
Arozarena is now an absurd 12-for-20 (.600) for the postseason, with eight of those hits coming against the Yankees. He singled in his first two at-bats Wednesday before knocking Masahiro Tanaka out of the game by crushing a leadoff home run in the fifth inning to make it a 5-1 lead.
“Arozarena has to be the best baseball player on earth right now,” Tyler Glasnow, the Rays’ Game 2 starter, said ahead of Game 3. “Just being able to sit back and watch him do what he does is phenomenal.”
Yankees pitchers may beg to differ. It hasn’t mattered which one was on the mound, Arozarena has hit them. He clocked a home run off Gerrit Cole in Game 1 and added two more singles against the Yankees ace, then drilled a home run off opener Deivi Garcia in Game 2.
Rays manager Kevin Cash went as far as calling Arozarena the “Cuban Mookie Betts,” according to the TBS broadcast.
“Randy, it’s unbelievable what he’s doing right now,” Cash said before Game 3.
By the time Arozarena came to the plate in the sixth inning Wednesday for his fourth at-bat, the Yankees seemed to want nothing to do with him as Luis Cessa walked him on four pitches. Michael King finally did the impossible and got him to ground out in the eighth inning.
In past postseasons, the likes of David Ortiz and Jose Altuve have killed the Yankees. Now it’s an unheralded 25-year-old whom the Rays acquired in January from the Cardinals.
Arozarena had a delayed start to the regular season after testing positive for COVID-19. But he was asymptomatic and put his month in quarantine to good use, reportedly adding 15 pounds of muscle and reaping the rewards upon his return.
“I’ve always considered myself a pretty good player, also a pretty good hitter,” Arozarena said through an interpreter Tuesday. “I’ve worked hard and trained hard in doing so. Ever since the minor leagues and my time in Cuba, I’ve always hit and I’ve always carried those results over to whatever league or level I’m in.”