Alex Rodriguez cannot hit during the day.
Now, granted, the Yankees haven't played a lot of games during the day up to this point in the season - only 5 games - but in the afternoon games in which they have played, and in the afternoon games he has played in, he has been awful. In yesterday's 3-2 loss to the Rays, Rodriguez was 0-6 with four strikeouts and from where I was sitting, way the heck up in the upper deck between third and the left field foul pole, it looked like he couldn't pick up any pitches. (Of course, that's a bit hyperbolic because he did foul off some balls and his at bats weren't just three pitches in length.) But it was because of what I witnessed in Yankee Stadium yesterday that I decided to see just what Rodriguez was doing during day games compared to how he was performing at night and this is what I found. (For this exercise, day = 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. and night = 7:00 p.m. - 11:45 p.m.)
So far this season, Rodriguez is batting .158/.273/.211/.483 with a 31.8% K rate and a 13.6% walk rate from the hours of 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
This is his daytime spray chart.
He hit a single in the home opener on 4/6 against Toronto, a single on 4/11 against Boston and a double on 4/19 against Tampa but that game was in Tropicana Field and he was 1-3 with that double and two walks. Apparently, he performs okay during the day with a roof over his head.
Rodriguez has had five at bats against lefties during the daylight hours and he's batting .000:
He's batting .214/.353/.286/.639 in 14 at bats against righties between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
I also wanted to see his splits on specific pitches to see if he was having trouble with a certain type of pitch during the day and this is what I found:
- In 14 plate appearances during the day that have ended with a fastball, he's batting .182/.357/.182/.539 with two singles.
- In two plate appearances during the day that have ended with a cutter, he's batting .500/.500/1.000/1.500 but again, that double was hit in a dome during the day - the other at bat that ended on a cutter in an appearance during the day was a strikeout.
- He's had two plate appearances in which the final pitch of the at bat was a changeup and both have been outs - one was a strikeout.
- In four at bats where the final pitch was a slider, he's struck out twice and two have been groundouts.
Rodriguez's numbers improve a lot from 7 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.: .260/.403/.620/1.023.
This is Rodriguez's nighttime spray chart.
At night he has hit .263/.440/.632/1.072 against lefties and .258/.378/.613/.991 against righties.
- He's batting .217/.379/.739/1.118 with a single, six walks and four home runs in at bats that end in a fastball.
- He's batting .667/.667/1.333 /2.000 with two doubles against the cutter in only three at bats.
- He's batting .200/.333/.300/.633 in 15 plate appearances with a single and a double and a 41.7% K rate and 16.7% BB rate.
- He has one groundout on a sinker at night.
- He has a strikeout and an out on the splitter at night.
- In two plate appearances that ended in a curveball, he's hit a single and a home run.
There are quite a few factors that could be to blame for this anomaly. Rodriguez is soon to be 40 years-old and as most people who have reached that magical age know, your vision can begin to deteriorate a bit. Rodriguez also has light eyes and most people with light eyes have a sensitivity to brightness even while wearing protective eye gear. But just for reference, in 2009, Alex batted .323/.420/.627/1.048 with a .304 ISO in 188 daytime at bats and in 2010, he batted .274/.343/.463/.806 with a .189 ISO in 198 daytime at bats so age could be a factor.
I will update these numbers in a month or so to see if anything changes.