Tonight, it might be fashionable to look at the Reed Johnson grounder in the 1st that A-Rod boxed into a double – or the A-Rod missed pop-up on Vernon Wells in the 4th, which was then followed up by another throwing error by A-Rod (allowing Wells to reach in the inning).
But, the heart of the loss tonight centers on the Yankees bats doing nothing, on the whole, against A.J. Burnett- sans Rodriguez’ 2,000th career hit (which was also his 450th career HR).
Even the poor pitching of Jaret Wright is meaningless, to some extent, today, because the meat of the Yankees order went 2 for 12 this evening (and the bottom of the Bombers order went 1 for 10).
OK, so, the Yankees have now faced the Blue Jays best two starters (in terms of stuff) and have lost two games – allowing Toronto to get back into the race in the A.L. East.
The games on Saturday and Sunday will be the test now for New York. The starters that Toronto will run out there are not over-powering. It’s time for the Yankees bats to wake up and savage this series.
Back to A-Rod’s yips in the field, I do not believe that this situation has reached the Steve Sax/Chuck Knoblauch level – yet. But, it is concerning.
Looking at The Fielding Bible tonight, I’ve noticed something.
According to the stats in the book, A-Rod was the best fielding 3B in the AL during 2004 – with Eric Chavez close behind him. But, in 2005, Alex Rodriguez, overall for the season, was just about league average at 3B, defensively – with about a half-dozen guys in the AL doing a better job than him (at 3B).
Perhaps 2006 is just the continuation of the decline in Alex’s ability to play 3B? Personally, I would have guessed, at the start of this season, that A-Rod had, at least, another 4 seasons after this one before he would have to be moved off 3B. But, sometimes things happen quicker than you expect.
I’m not saying this decline, and need for a move, is a “sure-thing.” But, it’s something to keep on the radar this season – rather than ignore it completely – until A-Rod starts to show that he can be a good fielding 3B again.