Troptober in the Tampa Bay area is back and the Tampa Bay Rays wasted no time to get the ball rolling, shutting out the Boston Red Sox 5-0 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Tampa Bay sent rookie starter Shane McClanahan to the mound for his first playoff start and he looked like a seasoned vet, shutting down the Red Sox offense over five innings of work.
McClanahan allowed no earned runs and struck out three, throwing 82 pitches on the night.
He got plenty of help right from the jump as Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco quickly became a fearsome playoff tandem.
Franco became the youngest player in MLB history with an RBI in his first postseason at-bat, lacing a double to left-center field as Arozarena would score all the way from first base.
Yandy Diaz then got Franco home with a hustle infield single, sliding headfirst into first base.
From there, the game felt secure and the Rays dugout clearly felt the same as bags of popcorn were passed around and players were munching on some snacks watching their teammates rake on the field.
Nelson Cruz had his Tropicana Field moment, hitting a solo home run off C ring and Randy, oh Randy, boy did he have another big-time performance in the postseason.
The King of Fall launched his 11th career postseason home run and became the first player in MLB history to hit a home run and steal home in the same game after stealing home in the seventh inning.
After McClanahan’s day on the mound was done, the Rays needed just three relievers to finish the job as JT Chargois and David Robertson threw one scoreless inning each and J.P. Feyereisen finished the job with two scoreless innings of his own.
Boston ended up using two possible starters in Game 1, pulling Eduardo Rodriguez early after command problems. He threw 41 pitches over 1.2 innings of work, suffering the loss on the night.
Nick Pivetta came in to start the third inning, throwing 73 pitches over 4.2 innings, so it will be interesting to see how manager Alex Cora will utilize both as the series continues.
Game 2 starts at 7:02 PM EST on Friday on FS1 and tickets are still available in the upper deck for those who still want to go.