As the night flows into the heated moments of a postseason game, the atmosphere becomes tense, elevating each pitch and every at-bat. Every moment is engulfed with an intensity that makes you to feel alive, you just can’t help but slide to the edge of your seat and wait until the next big postseason moment is born. Several players have elevated themselves in the heat of the postseason and have cemented their name in October’s history book.
For Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, it was Guayama, Puerto Rico native Eddie Rosario.
The first two games of the National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves vying it out for a chance to claim a World Series title has been nothing short of electrifying. Rosario added to the voltage that helped jump-start the Braves to a 2-0 series lead.
A stroke of luck and a hop that fell an inch short of finding the webbing of Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner’s glove, bounced its way into center field, helping the Braves steal Game 2 with a 5-4 win, pushing a 2-0 series lead against the defending World Series champions.
If you wanted to see a show, that’s exactly what you got out of the 30-year-old left fielder who had a four-hit night on Sunday at Truist Park. Not only was he able to provide the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning but also showed off his elite base running skills when he needed to turn on the jets the most.
Down by two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Rosario could feel the heat of the postseason breathing down his back, as time to pull out a Game 2 win began to narrow. With Rosario on second base, Ozzie Albies was able to hammer a hard ground ball off Julio Urías, that trickled into shallow right field. Rosario was able to hustle his way home and maneuver his body around home plate as a waving tag from catcher Will Smith was a half-second behind, and the Dodgers lead was cut to one run.
Game 1 hero, Austin Riley added another bullet point onto his NLCS resume, as he notched a game-tying RBI double that scored Albies in the same inning. The eighth-inning push forced the Dodgers to rely on 23-year-old righty Brudsar Graterol and a one-pitch effort by Kenley Jansen who gave up the game-winning RBI single to Rosario in the bottom of the ninth, scoring a zooming Dansby Swanson.
“It’s huge. It’s very important for me. It’s unbelievable for the team,” Rosario said as he got a taste of success in the Championship Series for the first time in his career. “I think this is something that, you, know we all have that dream, that desire to get to the World Series and for me, it”s especially large and I think that’s just what we’re going for.”
The five-year veteran spent six seasons with the Minnesota Twins who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Rosario signed with American League Central division rivals Cleveland Indians in February 2021 before enduring right abdominal pain that landed him on the injured list in early July.
Rosario found himself packing his bags to The Big A when a trade between the Indians and Braves emerged and he was swapped out for Venezuelan veteran Pablo Sandoval. The Braves made moves to acquire talented outfielders including Royals outfielder Jorge Soler, when All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his right ACL in mid-July, ruling him out for the remainder of the 2021 season.
“It was a competition at first,” Rosario said concerning his role as one of many outfielders on the roster. “It was definitely a little bit of a sense of urgency to kind of push the envelope a little bit and try to work my way into the lineup as much as possible. And fortunately, I was able to have some success at the end of the season, and I think I was able to sort of work my way into the starting lineup and just, I think since we all had the same goal and motive of helping the team in any way that we can.”
Rosario became one of a handful of Puerto Rican players who have made a huge impact on the 2021 postseason. Boston Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernández has set franchise postseason records through seven games, and Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa continues to fuse his passion and growing resume to motivate his team to defy many odds to hush the criticism that continues to circulate around the 2017 World Series Champions.
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