A-Rod Bookends Season Going Yard
Way to end the season on a high note, Yanks!
I admit, I was getting a little disgruntled when you dropped 3 in a row, and yeah, they're meaningless, but THEY'RE NOT TO ME! I just know how it feels when the Yankees are playing full-throttle, and there aren't a lot of things that rival that sense of confident power.
Knowing what that feels like (I spent most of August feeling it) makes it hard when it's not there. We know they can't be brilliant always, and you can't win 'em all, etc etc. But since when was being rational any significant element of the Fan Job Description?
So perhaps the argument can be made that I'm being completely ridiculous for getting this hyped up about what A-Rod did yesterday. Especially because it just shines a glaring, unforgiving spotlight on A-Rod's projected role in the playoffs. Yeah, I know he's "laughing all the way to the bank" and all, but I still maintain that it must suck being him.
Yesterday he set an American League record by hitting 2 HRs in one inning, the second one of the grand slam persuasion.
To review, A-Rod knocked the first pitch he saw of the 2009 season into the Camden bleachers. He knocked the last pitch he saw of the 2009 season into those of the Trop.
But of course, this means nothing to anyone. (Present company excluded.) Because for as long as A-Rod plays baseball, he has to bear the scarlet C on his jersey. (And it's not the Captain symbol.)
If the Yankees play the way they did yesterday, then the ALDS will be easier than a Word Find on the back of an Apple Jacks box. Since no bar in NYC is showing a Yankee game on NFL Sunday, it was tough to follow this one, but after the NY Giants worked business as usual with a sizable lead on Kansas City Chiefs, I felt comfortable redirecting my attention to the technically pointless baseball game.
Particularly since my cell-phone-score-checking revealed the Yanks were in a 1-0 hole for the first half of the game on account of a solo bomb from Evan Longoria in the bottom of the 1st.
Pleasepleasepleaseplease don't get swept.
Then the 6th inning happened. In a 2-0 deficit due to Longorio scoring on a passed ball in the 5th--why is Jose Molina a paid athlete?--the Yanks bats came alive when A-Rod took Wade Davis deep to bring the score to 3-2. From there on, the inning was a veritable circus.
Compared the sluggish pitching duel that prevailed for the first half of the game, the 6th inning transpired such that it look liked the whole line-up decided to celebrate their last game with some good old fashioned freebasing.
Johnny Damon's double scored Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera, who had reached on a walk and infield single to pitcher. With runners on second and third, Andy Sonnastine intentionally walked Mark Teixeira to get to A-Rod. Bad move, chief. Bad move.
I get so wildly incensed when people walk to get to A-Rod. Show some f'n respect, do you know who this guy is?? You're a professional major league pitcher and you're using the media-generated fallacy that ARod sucks in the clutch to make these decisions? Why don't you look at his actual statistics in close and late games and then tell me that loading the bases for the best player in the game is a well-thought out course of action.
(I know you gotta make that move and hope for the double play, I know all this. But I also know that I've spent the better part of the season batting for A-Rod against haters, and I hope to God that ARod butchers every hurler he faces for the rest of the year.)
So, yeah, then with the score at 6-2, and the order having batted around, A-Rod steps up for his final AB of the 2009 regular season. And sails one to the opposite field with such ease that it looked like he was teeing off on a blue rubber bouncy ball. He may have even been popping his bubblegum midswing.
Final score: 10-2.
AJ was able to get his 100th career win, and A-Rod's 7 RBIs gave him his 13th season of 30 homeruns and 100 RBIs. The Yankees finished with 103 wins (a lot of ones and threes appearing, yeah? The Year of the A-Rod.)
No word yet on our ALDS opponents, as both the Twinks and Tiggers made quick work of their Sunday games. 1-game division playoff! Excitement!
Regardless of which team we face, I appreciate the down-to-the-wire-ness of it all because it means both teams are going to have to toss out their "must-win-situation" line-ups [read: their best pitchers], so no matter what team the Yanks end up seeing on Wednesday night, it'll be a tired order sans #1 ace.
in the meantime, I'd really seriously like to establish what A-Rod needs to do in order to once and for all detach himself from the non-clutch leech that's been glued to him since he got his pinstripes.
I'm not really a stat-addict, but when it comes to the Yankees, I've found that empassioned rhetoric typically hurts my defense of them more than anything. I don't expect this to really change anyone's opinion, because, as Curtis Martin once said, "People define us before we define ourselves." However, next time, the argument about A-Rod's clutchness comes up, I think the following are valid points of contention:
Of his 30 homeruns this year:
- 26 have come when the score was a margin of 2 or less.
- 8 have been when the score was 0-0.
- 16 have been in the 6th inning or later.
- 9 have been when trailing.
- 15 have been to tie the game or put the Yankees in the lead.