Thursday, May 22, 2008

A-Rod to the rescue

It's amazing how good Alex Rodriguez truly is.

No other player in baseball has the ability to change a lineup like No. 13. His fine skill-set is obvious -- he drilled two balls over the fence last night, despite getting credited for just one homer -- but it's what he does to the lineup around him that sets him apart.

Prior to A-Rod's return, the top of the Yankees lineup was loaded with left-handed batters, creating an advantage for teams that threw southpaws at them. Now, you plug in the game's best righty hitter in the clean-up spot and the vulnerability is seriously minimized. Posada's return will further help fortify the balance of the lineup.

Even more, Rodriguez's presence changes the way an opposing pitcher must attack the teammates who bat around him. You can talk in vague platitudes about how a true leader "makes his team better" and whatnot, but A-Rod literally makes his team better. Jeter, Abreu, Giambi and Matsui are all going to get better pitches to hit as pitchers are forced to go right at them for fear of putting them on for free with Rodriguez in wait.

I flew home last night and caught the game from the left-field grandstand. It was a victory the team sorely needed, but beyond that, the Yankees seemed to have a little swagger back as well. A playoff berth may ultimately still come down to pitching for this team, but A-Rod's presence will be vital to any World Series aspirations. Complain about his personality and questionable postseason acumen all you want, but remember this. What you have right now is one of the best players of all-time playing for your team in the prime of his career.

I think we should all take a step back and enjoy that.

1 comment:

Mark said...

It's true about A-Rod and the fans' love/hate relationship with him. I'm even guilty of it sometimes. Let's not forget who the guy is: POSSIBLY THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME. I think last season was the first in a while someone could definitively say, "We don't make the playoffs without this guy." 2 MVP Awards in 4 seasons. And yes, what he does to the lineup. I don't think it's a coincidence that A-Rod is back in the lineup and all of a sudden the Yanks get 13 hits.
We are truly witnessing a legendary career. But yes, it would be nice to see his efforts lead to a ring.
All I know is the Yanks are only 4 games under with him out of the lineup half the season. I like their odds of getting back into this thing.