Though it isn't over, 2009 has been a year to remember for the New York Yankees third basemen Alex Rodriguez. He didn't hit over .300, or get the MVP, but he has had one of his biggest seasons ever when it comes to situational hitting, and it is bleeding into October baseball as well. Here is a look at what A-Rod has done so far this season, thirteen moments I have highlighted thus far this season. After the steroid admission and hip surgery, I did not expect him to perform the way he has this year. I guess with a clearer head and a different approach, things are working out for him. I hope it continues.
May 8th: The Return
After a long off season and an unexpected hip surgery, Alex Rodriguez started his season a bit later then the rest of the guys. In his first game back, the first pitch he saw from Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, a three run home run to deep left. The Yankees went on to win 4-0. This game was a turning point for the Yankees who were in bit of a slump heading into this game, losing their previous five games.
May 16: The first walk-off
In only his second game at the new house in the Bronx, A-Rod was up to bat in a 4-4 tie game in the 11th inning. Going 0-1 with four walks in his first game at the new stadium, and 0-3 in his first three at-bats during this game, his first hit, a walk-off two run home run to win the game for the Yankees. A nice way to start things off at home.
May 25: 5-for-5 with four rbi in Arlington
Matching his career high of five hits, Rodriguez's return to Texas went as well as it could for him in an 11-1 victory against the Texas Rangers. “There’s no panic. I know exactly what I’m capable of doing,” Rodriguez said. “I’m feeling much better each and every day.”
June 26: Getting hot in Hot-Lanta
After a visit down south on the road from Brian Cashman as the Yankees were on the road playing the Atlanta Braves, they needed a lift, and they got it. With his 563rd home run of his career, tying Reggie Jackson for 11th on baseball's all-time list, in the first inning, A-Rod got things started for the Yankees. They went on to win 11-7 and Mariano Rivera earned his 499th career save. “We needed that,” he said. “I needed it. I felt like my body was reacting pretty well.”
June 27: Passing Mr. October
In his first game at the new Citi Field, just a day after he tied Reggie Jackson in Atlanta, he passed him in the 8th inning of this game against the Mets. His 564th career home run, and a hug from his mentor Reggie in the dugout after the big blast.
“The negativity that surrounds the steroids is certainly not something that I carry over to him,” Jackson said. “I do appreciate the fact that he admitted his mistakes, so from here we move forward. Judgment on him will be passed with the next 7 1/2 years of his time with the Yankees.”
July 1: Beating his former team
With the game tied 2-2 in the 6th inning against his former team the Seattle Mariners, A-Rod hit a tie-breaking two run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the Yankees and Andy Pettitte to victory. The week prior, Alex received two days rest in Miami against the Marlins on June 19 and 20, and since that point, his bat came around.
July 18: Taking out Verlander in a duel
In a very close game in the Bronx against the Detroit Tigers, CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander were going head to head in an ultimate pitchers duel. Alex Rodriguez hit a home run to right in the bottom of the seventh to break the scoreless tie. Melky Cabrera added an rbi single and the Yankees went on to win 2-1. “The game had a feeling that one mistake, one pitch, one swing was going to be the difference,” Rodriguez said.
Aug 7/8: Slaying the Red Sox dragon in the 15th
Not only did Alex Rodriguez do something big for the Yankees, he did something big for himself. In an unbelievable game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, the game was scoreless well past midnight and into the 15th inning. Enter, Alex Rodriguez. He smashed a two run home run off of Red Sox pitcher Junichi Tazawa, who was making his MLB debut. The home run was his first one in three weeks. “Both teams were remarkable,” Rodriguez said. “It was a heavyweight fight, and we were fortunate to have the last hit.”
Aug 21: 4-for-4 with a triple at Fenway
In a 20-11 bashing of the Boston Red Sox, its only fitting that Alex Rodriguez got involved. Scoring two runs and going 4-for-4 with a triple. Rodriguez was actually in a 5-for-25 slump heading into this game.
Oct 4: Finishing big in Tampa
Heading into the final game of the regular season, the Yankees didn't have a whole lot to play for. Having clinched home field throughout the playoffs and the AL East title, it was just a matter of time before playoffs began for them. However, Alex Rodriguez had something to play for, his numbers. Playing in a shortened season due to the hip surgery, his average numbers were a bit low. Going into the game, Rodriguez had 28 home runs and 93 rbi. Only A-Rod could hit two home runs and seven rbi in one inning to move his numbers to 30/100 on the year. Unbelievable. When asked about reaching 30/100 on the year, Alex said, “I just didn’t think it was realistic at all, so therefore it wasn’t even a goal.”
Oct 9: Clutch in the post season
With the Yankees down 3-1 in game two of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium, they needed something to happen fast. Mark Teixeira hit a single to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning with no out, and Alex Rodriguez blasted a two run shot to right-center into the bullpen to tie the game. A single moment that put all of the past postseason frustration behind him. Two innings later, Teixeira ended the game with a walk-off home run. “This whole year I’m playing with no expectations,” said Rodriguez, who missed the first month of the season after hip surgery. “I’m going out and having fun doing the best that I can.”
Oct 11: An ALDS Monster
Capping off his huge ALDS, Rodriguez tied the game at 1-1 with a home run in the seventh inning against the Twins in Minnesota. Jorge Posada added another home run in the seventh and the Yankees went on to win 4-1, sweeping the Twins and moving onto the ALCS for the first time since 2004. A-Rod ended up going 5-for-11 with two home runs and six rbi in the Division Series. “It’s exciting,” Rodriguez said. “We were very disappointed last year when we went home, and ownership got us some good players. We came out and played like a team, like a group of brothers.”
Oct 17: The Rainmaker
A long, cold, and exausting game, the Yankees caught a break. Alex Rodriguez did it again. A home run to tie a playoff game late. In game two of the ALCS, with the Yankees down 3-2 on a chilly night in the Bronx in extra innings, A-Rod came through in the 11th inning. With Angels closer Brian Fuentes pitching, on an 0-2 count, Rodriguez drove a ball just over the glove of former Yankee Bobby Abreu in right. The Yankees ended up winning two innings later to move ahead 2 games to none on the best of seven series against the Angels. “Wow, what a game,” Rodriguez said.