D'Arnaud's 3-Dinger Game Dumps Yankees
Tampa Bay Ray catcher Travis d'Arnaud has gone bridge in the ninth inning against each of them:
- Last week in St Petersburg, the former Met hot prospect turned a Green slider into a walkoff, and now,
- In the House that Ruth built and Steinbrenner relocated, dude lofted a Chapman slider that just kept on going.
Seems like the Bombers' scouting report on him mighta mentioned sliders.
In a 162-game season, it's difficult until all has been done and dusted to determine whether one game had any actual significance other than it felt cool at the time, or not so much.
- Cool: It the first time in their last 14 series openers against the Yankees that they actually won.
- Not so much: New York is now 49-1 when leading after eight innings.
Living in the moment even more is the fact that the Rays are now a mere five games behind the Bombers in the AL East.
Of course, that could all go up in smoke if Tampa Bay doesn't deliver in the next three games.
But, as The Real Boss sang, you can't start a fire without a spark.
D'Arnaud's been all of that lately. For now, seems like he's found a home with the most understated, overachieving team in the game after a weird start to the season.
- First, the Mets cut him free, and then
- The Dodgers jettisoned him for the MLB equivalent for a handful of magic beans, so
- The Rays basically pulled dude outta the scrap heap.
And they're glad they did, especially after he became their third player ever to rip three homers in a single game to secure their dramatic 5-4 victory:
When was the last time Chapman gave up multiple runs in the last inning?
It's been a while, so maybe he was due for a bitta karma.
Maybe d'Arnaud's been a leadoff hitter all his life and didn't know it.
The veteran catcher topped the lineup in this game, as he's now done seven times before since joining Tampa Bay. It used to be catchers didn't fit the role -- as if there are any roles in a lineup anymore -- but they're trending now.
That's the way it is these days in thumper ball.
The Rays have clubbed 126 round-trippers to date, which is fourth outta five in the AL East.
Instead, they've been as resourceful as they always are, doing stuff like ...
- inventing openers,
- developing unheralded players, and as in the case with d'Arnaud,
- seeing something in a player who was rejected twice in the same season and having it pay off.
Dudes do it well, too.
One way or another, they find a way to keep themselves in the hunt.