Friday, April 15, 2016

Should we be reassured that A-Rod isn't "panicking?"

In five of their eight games, the middling 2016 Yankees have scored 3 runs or less. The other three featured offensive blowouts, fattening stats and prompting John & Suzyn to marvel over the deluge.

But last night's loss to Toronto - we scored 2 runs; both gifts - epitomized the Yankees' sorry plight over the last three years. It sure doesn't look like much has changed.

And really, what has? We may have found an everyday 2B who hits over .200, (though I recall Team Yes crowing in recent Aprils over the acquisitions of Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew.) We have Aroldis Chapman on the way. But we always have somebody returning. And unless Chapman can hit, I'm not sure how much he'll change things.

Last night, in inning after inning, it became clear the Yankees were going down silently. Considering their collective ages, there's no reason to think they will make much noise this year. (This isn't about last weekend's weather; think global warming - a long, slow process.) And the man in the middle is one to which we are contractually - and, I guess, spiritually - tethered for eternity. The contract ends in 2017, but A-Rod will always be a Yankee.

Last night, in four at bats, he recorded one "hit" - he was plunked - and bounced three grounders to the shortstop. Considering how he runs - (think: Betty White, carrying a keg) - each ball would have been a DP. He leads the team in strikeouts, with eight. His Small Sample batting average is.120. It's foolish to think he will fall off a cliff and never hit again. But it's reasonable to imagine his skills eroding from last year, when in September he fell off the cliff, seemingly never to hit again.

At age 39, A-Rod hit 33 home runs, batted .250 and drove in 84 runs, batting third or fourth. He grounded into 17 double-plays, tying Chase Headley for the team lead.

If his production diminishes, just a tad, Alex becomes a mediocre DH, a double-play out on a team full of old, slow hitters. He won't bat .120. He'll hit just enough to tantalize us, to keep him in the lineup. He will become the latest in a long conga line of sluggers - from John Mayberry to Vernon Wells, from Danny Tartabull to Pronk - taking curtain calls in Pinstripes... bringing the drip-drip-drip death of double-play balls and lost opportunities.

A-Rod and Girardi are right. There is no cause for panic.

Dread? Now, that's another story...


Alphonso said...

I want to see Betty White running to first, carrying a beer keg. I Want to.

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