ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay on Thursday looked like a team on a mission. During Game 1 of the American League Division Series, one of the best teams of 2021 would not be denied a win over their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
In front of a hometown crowd at Tropicana Field, the Rays put on a show, beating Boston 5-0. The main star was last year's playoff hero Randy Arozarena. The Cuban-born outfielder became the first player in postseason history to hit a home run and steal home in the same game.
The team's pitching wasn't too shabby either, shutting down the Red Sox despite allowing nine hits. Rookie pitcher Shane McClanahan took the bump that night, going an impressive five innings.
On Friday, the Rays have a chance to go up two games to none and enter enemy territory on Sunday with a chance to sweep the series.
However, the team first has to deal with previous CY-Young contender Chris Sale - a player who is on a mission of his own after missing the entire 2020 season with an elbow injury.
Tampa Bay will once again start a postseason game with a rookie on the mound. Shane Baz is no stranger to pitching in big moments. He is an Olympic silver medalist, but his appearance on Friday will be just his fourth start in a Rays uniform.
During his first three starts at the end of the regular season, Baz gave up just three earned runs in 13 innings.
First pitch is at 7:02 p.m.