Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Forget 600, A-Rod Needs to Hit At All

For the first half (at this point) of the home-run drought that began after Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th career homer, he was hitting about .300, and was hardly a problem, as the Yankees were still in first place, 3 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since then, he's been hopeless, and the Yankees are now a game behind the Deviled Eggs.

And the media is blaming A-Rod for the team's slump. Not A.J. Burnett, and not the bullpen, and not the injuries.

They are right. Put it this way: If the Mets had been 3 games in front of the NL East (stop laughing, people, this is serious), and their fans were partying like it's 1986, and then suddenly they went into a slump and got passed by the Phillies or Braves, and there was the revelation of the stat of their cleanup hitter, David Wright, was in, say, a 4-for-25 slump over the last 6 games, wouldn't he naturally be the first target?

After all, if Wright were hitting like, say, the A-Rod of 2007, maybe it wouldn't matter how poorly the Mets were pitching: They might win anyway.

You have to be able to rely on your cleanup hitter. At this point, the Yankees might be better off with someone else in the 4 slot until A-Rod starts hitting again. In other words... yes, A-Rod is the most to blame. More than A.J. Burnett or the bullpen, because he's not done it just about every day. That's not opinion, and that's not bias: That's statistically-backed fact.

Forget hitting Number 600: A-Rod needs to hit at all.


And John Sterling needs to understand that not every drive to the outfield is going to be a home run. In the 7th inning last night, A-Rod hit one, and Sterling said, "AND THERE IT GOES! DEEP TO RIGHT FIELD! And it is going to be caught... " And it was. He was so sure it was Number 600, and yet it didn't even reach the warning track.

Remember, John: Watch the outfielder, not the ball. As Red Barber taught us, if you watch the outfielder, you'll know whether he thinks he can catch it. Don't assume it's gone until he thinks it is.


It would have been better for A-Rod to have this slump while the LeBronathon was going on. Then, hardly anyone would have noticed.

What A-Rod needs is for something big to happen elsewhere, like another Met loss right out of the What The Hell File -- Johan Santana giving up 3 runs in the 1st inning on Monday night doesn't count, especially after Burnett's meltdown the same night -- or Isiah Thomas being rehired by the Knicks, or...

Stop the presses: The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Minnesota Vikings' hometown paper, is reporting that Brett Favre has told the Vikes that he's retiring.

Cue the mancrushes of most of ESPN's reporters! This distraction of the media is just what A-Rod needs to get them off his back, finally hit Number 600, and get the Yankees back on track!


Tonight, the finale of the series against the Toronto Blue Jays, following 8-6 and 8-2 losses to the Hoser Birds.

Phil Hughes starts for the Yanks, against Shaun Marcum. Come on, Yankees, get something going against those Canada Geese, eh?

No comments: