Has Alex Rodriguez Been What The Yankee Clubhouse Was Missing All Along?

Alex Rodriguez got an early 40th birthday present yesterday from his manager.  After having to take multiple brisk jogs around the bases on Saturday night, he got a day off in the series finale and watched his teammates put together another strong victory against a quality opponent.  Even though he wasn’t a direct participant in any of the on-field happenings, A-Rod did play a small part in the action by picking up Stephen Drew in a dugout pseudo-bear hug after his 2-run homer in the 6th.  It wasn’t all that different from the pseudo-bear hug he gave John Ryan Murphy after his 3-run shot completed the comeback on Saturday night.

In addition to the celebratory dugout hugs, we’ve seen A-Rod factor into a lot of the in-game team camaraderie stuff this season.  He’s always good for a laugh when he’s going first to third or second to home running the bases, and his rolling, tumbling, flop slide into home plate the other day on Chase Headley‘s 3-run double was a thing of comedic beauty.  …

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Game 97 Quick Recap: NYY 7 MIN 2

The Yankees flipped the script on what was shaping up to be a crummy weekend with last night’s A-Rod-aided come-from-behind victory in Minnesota.  They kept those good vibes rolling this afternoon, sans A-Rod, to beat the Twins again and rack up another 2-1 series victory.

Nathan Eovaldi was today’s starter, and for the first time in a while it felt appropriate and accurate to describe his performance as nasty.  The Twins got to him in the 3rd for a solitary run on a pair of singles and an RBI groundout, but other than that they could do nothing.  Eovaldi recorded 4 of his first 5 outs via the strikeout, then settled into a very efficient and dominant ground ball-heavy outing.  He got multiple GB outs in every inning from the 4th through the 7th and pitched into the 9th for the first time this season.  This was the first major step forward for Eovaldi in his development in a while, and it was a glance at the type of GB/K pitcher the Yankees envision him being for years to come.…

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Quick hit: IIATMS, The NY Post, and ARod

arod

Holy crap, did Alex Rodriguez have a week yesterday or what?!? Three home runs? Seriously?

I’ve never been his biggest fan; I’ll leave that to Stacey. But this season has really changed the way I look at him. All I have seen is a guy who wants to play baseball with his friends once again. Nothing more. No drama. Just completely appreciative about (yet another) chance to play and he’s not letting this one get by him. He’s always been a great teammate, we’ve been told, doing things like buying suits for the rookies who don’t have the money to do so. Teaching and offering advice. But it was routinely overshadowed by Derek Jeter and other self-inflicted feet in the mouth. So what we’ve seen appears to be genuine love of the game. I don’t think this one’s a lie and I’m enjoying it far more than I ever would have considered.

Yesterday, the NY Post reached out to Stacey and I, as well as others, to get our thoughts on Alex.…

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Game 96 Recap: Yankees 8 Twins 5

A-Rod High Ten vs MIN

Somebody give the man some skin! Courtesy of the AP

There are a few games every season that a good winning team can look back on and say “yep, that was a big one.  That one really helped us get to where we wanted to be.”  Last night was one of those games for the Yankees.  Coming off a beatdown against their former teammate on Friday night and starting the game in a quick 5-0 hole thanks to the rotting corpse of CC Sabathia, the Yankees stormed back late on the bat of Alex Rodriguez and his 3 home runs and stole a huge win to even this series.

Might as well get the bad CC stuff out of the way early.  Brian Dozier singled to start the bottom of the 1st and Aaron Hicks hit a hanging changeup for a 2-run home run in the next at-bat.  2 batters, 5 pitches, 2-run deficit.  Things got worse in the 3rd when the lineup turned over and Hicks started things off with a base hit.  …

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Quick hit: A tweak to the rotation in Texas

Per Meredith Marakovtis of YES:

“Yankees adjusting rotation in Texas. Nova will start Monday, TBA Tuesday, Tanaka Wednesday, Pineda Thursday”

Per Bryan Hoch:

“Yankees will insert a sixth starter on Tuesday at Texas. Girardi says it’s TBA. Could be Warren/Capuano but will NOT be Severino/Mitchell.”

Quick hit: LOLMets, Kelly Johnson edition

From Buster Olney today (Insider required, sorry):

From ESPN Stats & Info: Kelly Johnson hasn’t exactly been a world-beater this year, but if he were on the Mets all year, he’d probably be considered their best hitter. His batting average (.275), OPS (.772) and at-bats per home run (20.2) would hypothetically be No. 1 among Mets players with 100-plus plate appearances.

Now, I don’t root against the Metsies; actually I want them to do well. Better for the NY market if both teams are strong, and a whole lot more fun. But seeing that the 2014 Yanks’ castoff, Kelly Johnson, would be the Mets best offensive player made me chuckle.

Of course, we here at IIATMS would be remiss to point out that it was just about this time last year when the Yanks flipped Johnson to Boston for Stephen Drew and $500K, who we then re-signed and continue to play nearly every day. Maybe the joke’s really on us?…

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About Last Night: Pineda’s Slider

Pineda Slider Location 7-24-15

Courtesy of Texas Leaguers

That’s Michael Pineda’s slider plot from last night.  He threw that pitch 39 times out of 92 total pitches, by far the most of any of his offerings, despite not having very good command of it.  Miguel Sano took him deep on a hanging 3-2 slider to get the Twins’ offensive outburst started and they put a lot of good swings on other sliders that missed up in the zone.  Normally the slider is Pineda’s best pitch and one he uses to rack up strikeouts.  Last night the Twins put it in play 25.6% of the time they saw it and did a lot of damage against it.

Location in the strike zone is usually the issue when Pineda’s slider isn’t working and last night was a prime example of this.  Throwing almost 75% of 39 sliders inside the zone is way too many for what is supposed to be a swing-and-miss out pitch.  Throwing at least half of that 75% up and in the middle of the zone is real good evidence of Pineda not having the feel for the pitch, as is the location of most of the sliders he did manage to bury down out of the zone.  …

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