The Rays never led the Yankees in the decisive Game 5 of the ALDS on Friday until the eighth inning when pinch-hitter Mike Brosseau got the best of an Aroldis Chapman fastball -- a fastball that happened to be the 10th pitch of the at-bat. Here's the game-changing color television footage:
That blast made gave the Rays a 2-1 lead and pushed their chances of winning Game 5 from 56.2 percent to 85.3 percent. That one-run margin would hold up and send the Rays to the ALCS for the second time in franchise history (box score). As for Brosseau's clutch homer off that triple-digit fastball, it's not something that happens often:
100.2 MPH by Brosseau is the fastest pitch hit for a home run in a postseason game tracked by Statcast (2015-present).— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 10, 2020
Previous high was a Carlos Correa homer off Luis Severino at 99.3 MPH in 2017 ALCS Game 2
There's also this:
To state the obvious, coming off the bench to face a pitcher with Chapman's stuff is no easy task -- bonus credit to him for fouling off a pair of fastballs and a pair of sliders en route to that 10th pitch. Throw in the pressure of the moment, and the undrafted Brosseau came up impossibly huge.
Layered behind all this is the recent history between Chapman and Brosseau. You'll recall this harrowing moment from back on Sept. 1:
Brosseau already had a measure of revenge given that he homered twice against the Yankees the very next night. Consider the matter settled in Brosseau's eternal favor with the Game 5 homer. Chapman, meantime, has now given up decisive home runs in elimination games in back-to-back seasons.