Zach Eflin grew up a Tampa Bay Rays fan. Now, he has the chance to live out his childhood dream, which is to help the Rays franchise win its first-ever World Series title. Ahead of Tuesday's American League Wild Card series opener against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field, Eflin talked about how exhilarating it was for him back in 2008 to watch BJ Upton and the Rays go deep in the MLB playoffs and reach that year's edition of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I remember the 2008 World Series run, it was a big part of my childhood,” Eflin told reporters on Tuesday (via Tricia Whitaker of Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun).
“I remember the 2008 World Series run, it was a big part of my childhood.”
– Zach Eflin, before starting game 2 tomorrow for the Rays and his hometown team that he grew up cheering for.
Cool moment for Zach. pic.twitter.com/5on0BiSaJy
— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) October 3, 2023
Interestingly enough, Eflin spent his first seven years in the majors with the team that beat the Rays in the 2008 Fall Classic. After his stint with the Phillies, he inked a three-year deal worth $40 million with the Rays back in December. In his first regular season with Tampa Bay, Eflin went 16-8 with a 3.50 ERA, 3.01 FIP, and 1.024 WHIP across 31 starts and 177.2 innings.
Eflin will have to wait for one more day before he gets his first playoff start for the Rays. He will get the ball in Game 2 for Tampa Bay, while Tyler Glasnow will be the one toeing the rubber for the Rays in the series opener.
The Rays have been to a World Series appearance one time since 2008, but they fell short of achieving the goal in 2020 when they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2.