Rosario’s hot bat leads the Braves to the streak

ATLANTA – Eddie Rosario spoke the other day about his lucky wood, which started to heat up with a four-stroke night in mid-September.

“I used this bat that I hit for the cycle and it didn’t disappoint,” he said after his second four-hit game of the NL Championship Series. “Dude, that bat hasn’t let me down yet.”

Well, he got past that on Saturday night, becoming the NL Championship Series MVP.

As the crowd chanted his name, Rosario hoisted the prize.

“Really amazing,” he said through a translator.

Rosario hit a decisive three-run homerun against Dodgers ace Walker Buehler in the fourth inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to Los Angeles 4-2 for their first NL pennant since 1999 and a World Series game with the Houston Astros.

Less than three months after being traded by Cleveland, who sent money to the Braves to take him, the 30-year-old outfielder played six multi-shot games against the Dodgers. He hit 0.560 (14 for 25) with three home runs and nine RBIs, giving him a slugging percentage of 1.040 and 1.647 OPS.

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He hit it safe in all 10 playoff games, batting .474 with 11 RBIs.

Thanks to this trusty 33 1/2 inch, 31 ounce bat.

No hit was more important than his home run in the fourth inning. With the score 1-1, he fouled on three throws around a ball that left the count at 1-2, then sent a cutter down the right field line at 105 mph, the ball bearing 361 feet.

With 14 wins, he tied the playoff record, a mark he shares with Albert Pujols and Hideki Matsui (2004), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and Marco Scutaro (2012).

“I came here and wanted to show my name, show my skills and prove to people what kind of baseball player I am,” said Rosario.

“I feel like I was successful in Minnesota and I struggled a bit in Cleveland, so when I came here I really wanted to make sure I presented my talents in a proper way and let people sort of demonstrate that this is the kind of ball player who I am, these are the skills I have and the things I can bring to a team, “he said.

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Prior to this October, Rosario was best known for opposing Cleveland. For six seasons with Minnesota, he hit .301 with 22 homers and 47 RBIs in 93 games against the Indians, prompting Cleveland to sign him as a free agent on a one-year contract of $ 8million. dollars with funds saved after swapping Francisco Lindor and Carlos. Carrasco at the New York Mets.

Rosario hit 0.254 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs for the Indians and was on the injured list with an oblique strain when he was traded in Atlanta on July 30 to infielder Pablo Sandoval, who was immediately released. . Cleveland sent the Braves $ 500,000 to make up a portion of the remaining $ 2,795,699 in Rosario’s salary.

“We just never saw the best of Eddie,” said Indian president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. “I think he’s going to go to Atlanta and be able to help them for the last month and a half of the season once he’s ready to get off the injured list.”

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Rosario didn’t return to the major leagues until August 28 and hit 0.271 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 96 at-bat for the Braves, one of four outfielders brought along with Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler. .

“To be honest, it was a competition at the start,” said Rosario. “The four of us showed up and I think we all wanted to have some playing time and be in the lineup. And obviously the three or guys were successful on the pitch so for me it was definitely a bit of a sense of urgency to push the boundaries a bit and try to get my way into the lineup.

Turns out the heat helped Rosario’s bat get hot.

“The first two months are 40 degrees all the time in Cleveland,” said the Puerto Rico native. “When it’s hot, I feel better.

Rosario struck for the cycle on Sept. 19 against San Francisco, helping the Braves stop a four-game skid and take a two-game lead over Philadelphia in the eastern NL.

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He hit .308 (4 for 13) with two RBIs in the Division Series four-game win over Milwaukee, and his outing single in the ninth inning of Game 2 gave him a night of four hits and pushed the Braves into a 2-0 dominate over the Dodgers. He had four more hits, including a pair of home runs, in a 9-2 rout in Game 4.

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