2020 has been one for the record books.
It has been the worst year I have seen in my years on this planet.
But the silver lining is this maybe the best year ever for Tampa Sports teams.
First, the Lightning won their second Stanley Cup in franchise history. Now the Tampa Bay Rays will be going to their second World Series in franchise history against either the Dodgers or the Braves on Tuesday night.
The Rays did just enough offensively as have they done all season. The Rays took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and eliminated the Houston Astros in a 4-2 win.
Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena continued to carry the offense. Arozarena hit a two-run homer in the first after a Margot single. That was all the Rays would need.
Mike Zunino hit a solo homer in the second as the Rays went up 3-0.
What can you say about Charlie Morton? Moments like this are why the Rays signed him to that two years $32 million contract two off-seasons ago.
Morton was outstanding as he stymied the Astro offense into the sixth inning. Morton gave up two hits to go with six strikeouts.
Kevin Cash rolled the dice again as he removed Morton after Altuve got a cheap infield hit. Morton had only thrown 66 pitches to that point, but Cash proved to everyone that he made the right decision as the bullpen was solid the rest of the way.
Nick Anderson has not been sharp in the postseason. He gave up two runs in his two innings of work. Pete Fairbanks relieved Anderson and closed it out for the Rays.
Rookie Randy Arozarena was the MVP of the series. Arozarena hit.367 in the series with four home runs.
Kevin Cash talked about the feeling of going to the World Series. Pretty special feeling. I don’t know if I’ve had much better other than getting married and having three kids. This is right there, right there below that. It can’t get much better than that. This is a special group to be a part of. It’s fun to see them win games and just to be a part of it.”
Kevin Keirmaier said there was some pressure on the Rays as they let a three-game lead disappear. “We felt the pressure, but we’ve stepped up all year. Our guys came to play. And that’s what’s helping us advance to the World Series.”
The Rays will have to rely on their pitching once again in the World Series. Both the Braves and the Dodgers are good hitting clubs.
The Rays are hitting .209 in the postseason, but have the best pitching of the teams left in the postseason with a 3.36 ERA.
The Rays are a team with no superstars. The Rays also have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball at $74 million. That has been adjusted this year to approximately $22 million.
I will have the World Series preview up Monday night on the website.
For now, we have two days to enjoy the Rays winning the AL pennant. Let’s enjoy the moment and get ready for game one of the World Series on Tuesday night.