A-Rod struggling to catch up
October, 10, 2012
By Mark Simon & John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
What’s wrong with Alex Rodriguez?
The New York Yankees third baseman is 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in this series against the Baltimore Orioles. And is 3-for-27 with 11 strikeouts in the last two postseasons overall.
His postseason performance, other than 2009, has been a bit of an issue.
Consider some of these career numbers.
He’s hitting .175 with 23 strikeouts in 57 postseason at-bats with runners in scoring position.
He’s hitting .129 with 13 strikeouts in 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs.
His batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage slashline is .237/.343/.412 with runners on base.
Rodriguez has not homered in his last 70 postseason at-bats (the longest streak of his career). Since his last postseason homer (October 31, 2009), he is hitting an even .200 in postseason play.
What’s his current issue
Rodriguez is having trouble catching up to fastballs.
He struck out against a 96 mile-per-hour sinker from Orioles closer Jim Johnson to end Game 2.
Rodriguez had 13 strikeouts on pitches at least 96-MPH or faster in the regular season, which tied for fifth-most in baseball, despite the fact he missed 40 games.
But speed hasn’t necessarily mattered. Any fastball has been a struggle for him.
Since September 23, Rodriguez is 7-for-35 in at-bats ending with fastballs, sinkers, cutters or splitters. All seven hits are singles. Only three of the 26 balls he’s put into play have been classified by our hit-tracking system as “hard-hit.”
Rodriguez hasn’t homered since September 14 when he hit one against Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price. He has 25 strikeouts and no home runs in 77 at-bats since his last home run. He has one extra-base hit on his last 35 fly balls/line drives.
Wednesday’s Matchup: Gonzalez vs. A-Rod
Orioles Game 3 starter Miguel Gonzalez has never faced Rodriguez, so what can the Yankees slugger expect to see?
As we noted last night the Orioles have done a nice job working the edges of the plate against A-Rod. They’ve thrown 40 of their 47 pitches to Rodriguez in this series to the inner-third (or off the inside corner) or the outer-third (or off the outside corner) of home plate.
Gonzalez is more apt to work the outside part of the plate, as the numbers show that he’s much more likely to work a right-handed hitter away than inside.
It makes sense for the Orioles to keep pitching Rodriguez away until he proves he can hit a pitch to that area with authority.
Since September 7 (including the first two games of this series), Rodriguez has seen 211 pitches on the outer-third of the plate, or off the outside corner.
Those 211 have resulted in 28 outs, six walks, and only two hits, both singles.
Narrow that even further to the 82 pitches that have been on the outside corner.
Those have resulted in 18 outs and just one hit.