Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that Alex Rodriguez came back and started in the Yankees lineup this weekend. The Yankees didn’t play a great team (the Baltimore Orioles) but they are a professional baseball team.
The Yankees went 2-1 over the weekend. How much can that be attributed to A-Rod? Probably not a lot, because pitching is the bottom line, but some has to.
A lot of it is psychological.
Last Monday, when the Yankees played Boston, the Red Sox scored a run each in the first four innings. They Yankees lost 6-4. When the Yankees lost on Tuesday, the Red Sox scored four runs in the first inning. The Yankees lost 7-3. When the Yankees lost to Tampa on Wednesday, the Rays scored three runs before the Yankees did. The Yankees lost, 4-3, in extra innings. When the Yankees lost on Thursday to the Rays, the Rays scored four runs before the Yankees did.
You can see a pattern here: when the other team scores a lot of runs on the Yankees, and that team scores first, the Yankees seem to go into a funk. It’s like they have no confidence to come back because maybe they believe they don’t have any “big” hitters to bring them back.
Not only does this effect the batters, but the pitchers as well. The pitcher might get down on himself thinking that he lost the game already because his team is not coming back.
Let’s go to Baltimore on Friday. A-Rod gets up, hits a three run home run on the first swing, and the Yankees are up three nothing. This had a big effect on Sabathia. He finally had a lead he could work with, and he buckled down and pitched a gem of a game.
In the second game, the Orioles scored eight runs off of Hughes in the second inning and there’s just nothing you can do about that.
In the third game, the Yankees scored first, but the Orioles scored three runs right after the Yankees did. Still, when you score a run, it breaks the ice and you have more confidence through out the game. Even when A-Rod doesn’t contribute, he does contribute because the batters in front of him get better pitches to hit.
Everyone on the Yankees roster has to be more at ease with their big bat back. The batters in front of A-Rod this weekend series went nine-for-35 with six runs scored and seven RBI, even though A-Rod only went two-for-11 with three RBI. The Yankees in front of A-Rod only had a .257 average, but they did walk four times, which lead to a .371 on base percentage, which is a very good on base percentage when you consider that the Dodgers lead the league in OBP with .374.
My final thought on this is that A-Rod being back on the team will help the Yankees win more games, unless the opposing pitchers start seeing A-Rod slumping and he would slump because he’s not on steroids. I’m not a big A-Rod fan. In fact, I wish he wasn’t on the Yankees, but he is so I have to root for him.
Also at http://www.yankeesdaily.com