Since Derek Jeter looked like the old Jeter this weekend for basically the first time since last spring, some of New York’s reporters are back to griping about Alex Rodriguez again.
Never mind that Jeter’s struggles have been going on from mid-June to the present, while Rodriguez started out the season on a tear, but has been hitting poorly over the last two weeks, since straining his oblique. As Mark Feinsand notes, Rodriguez hit “.366 with four home runs and 10 RBI in his first 13 games,” but although he did hit a grand slam and drive in six runs on April 23, “over his past 14 games, A-Rod is batting .170 (9-for-53) with three RBI and one extra-base hit.” The Daily News writer says, “With his RBI groundout on Sunday, he snapped an eight-game skid in which he hadn’t driven in a run.”
It depends on your perspective whether Rodriguez is suffering a temporary setback, or an age-related decline.
George King of the New York Post writes:
While Rodriguez wasn’t the only non-producer, he hits fourth, makes the most money, has the out-sized personality and is the lightning rod for everything wrong in the Yankees’ universe.
Until Jeter started to warm this past week, his plate woes provided cover for Rodriguez, who batted .290 with five homers and 18 RBIs in April.
Let me get out my trusty calculator. Those stats over the course of six months would equal .290 over the year, with 30 home runs and 108 RBIs. Are those type of numbers something that would really kill the Yankees’ season?
Kevin Long and Rodriguez told the media that the hitting coach noticed something awry this weekend with A-Rod’s leg kick. But Wallly Matthews figures Rodriguez is doomed, doomed, doomed. The ESPN writer has an overwrought piece about the fact that A-Rod hasn’t hit a home run since April 23.
“…now that the Yankees have “fixed” Derek Jeter — or more likely, Jeter has fixed himself — it is time for someone to do the same with Alex Rodriguez…..
At the rate he was hitting homers and driving in runs, a 50-homer, 150-RBI season was not out of the question.
Now, it certainly seems well beyond his reach. In fact, sometimes when he is at the plate it looks as though he will never hit No. 6.
Plenty has been said so far this year, but by Alex Rodriguez, very little has been done.
Derek Jeter’s struggles caused us all to forget about that for a couple of weeks. But on one big day in Texas, Derek got better.
Now it’s Alex Rodriguez’ turn to get better, and fast.
Geez, Louise, you would think he was slumping for six months!
I hope Jeter is back, although I would put an asterisk on the second homer, against Arthur Rhodes (as Bill Madden writes, the pitcher has given up 17 homers in 85 innings against the Yanks, and has a 7.52 ERA against the team). If Manny Ramirez was the greatest Yankee-killer of all time, Arthur Rhodes might be the greatest Yankee patsy of all time.
But really, the biggest beneficiary of the focus on Jeter over the last few weeks wasn’t A-Rod, but Jorge Posada. A designated hitter who is batting just .152 is pretty terrible. While Posada does have 6 homers (but he hasn’t hit one since April 23, the same date as Rodriguez,) any other player batting so poorly for the year wouldn’t be the DH. And given that Posada will turn 40 this August, it’s not unreasonable to start wondering what it all means.
What do you think? Tell us about it!