A-Rod a good fit for No. 2
September, 11, 2013
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
Jim Davis/Getty ImagesJoe Girardi may want to consider hitting Alex Rodriguez in the two-hole from now on.In his last two games since being moved into the No. 2 hole in the batting order by Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez is 4-for-8 with a home run and two doubles.
And it makes perfect sense for Girardi to keep him there -- assuming Rodriguez's left hamstring allows it -- even if Derek Jeter comes back.
After cracking a pair of doubles in Tuesday night’s victory over Baltimore, A-Rod quietly raised his batting line to .301/.388/.496.
He has been a key to the Yankees’ recent offensive surge.
The only thing he hasn’t been able to do since his Aug. 5 return? Hit with runners in scoring position (.214).
And that’s exactly why A-Rod should bat between Brett Gardner and either mashers Robinson Cano or Alfonso Soriano, depending on if there’s a righty or lefty on the mound.
Rodriguez has been able to get on-base at a high rate, and should see better pitches to hit with Cano or Soriano protecting him.
Jeter is currently out with an ankle injury, and the Yankees traded for Brendan Ryan seemingly as insurance in case the Yankee captain doesn’t return.
But even if he does, Jeter, who is currently triple-slashing .190/.288/.254 -- all while batting second -- should be moved down to the sixth or seventh spot.
Obviously, it would take a lot of guts for Girardi to make a decision like this if it comes to it. But it appears a decision such as this one would give the Yankees the best chance at making the playoffs.
• Speaking of Soriano, his stats are pretty strange.
Since being dealt to the Yankees, Soriano is hitting just .253 with a .304 on-base percentage.
But he’s amassed 15 home runs and 47 RBIs in just 43 games wearing pinstripes.
Even crazier, Soriano is hitting .386 with runners in scoring position as a Yankee, but just .179 with no one on base. He is hitting .350 with two outs and RISP and .385 in late and close situations.
“(The Yankees) would not even be in the wild-card conversation without Soriano,” Baseball Tonight’s Chris Singleton said when asked about the veteran outfielder being arguably the best deadline acquisition.
• Cano rediscovered his MVP stroke when A-Rod returned Aug. 5. Since then, the All-Star second baseman is hitting .368 with five homers and 28 RBIs.
• The Yankees (77-68) are nine games over .500 despite having a negative run differential (601 runs for, 603 against).
Why is this important?
Well, only six teams in MLB history have made the playoffs with a negative run differential: the 2007 Diamondbacks (minus-20), the 2005 Padres (minus-42), the 1997 Giants (minus-nine), the 1987 Twins (minus-20) and the 1984 Royals (minus-13).
The Twins went on to win the World Series.