Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Media blames A-Rod for Yankees falling out of first place

You gotta love the media. It was less than two weeks ago that so many journalists told us about how nobody cared about Alex Rodriguez going after his 600th homer. This morning, now that the Yankees have fallen out of first place for the first time since June 13, I'm reading in the New York papers about how the Yanks' slide is all A-Rod's fault, thanks to the tons of attention placed on #600.

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post writes:
The Yankees have fallen into the A-Rod trap. And they can’t get out. There’s been so much attention given to the 600 home run chase, the Yankees have forgotten they’re in a pennant race. The first-place Rays haven’t. They are 10-1 over the last 11 games while the second-place Yankees are 5-6 over that span and the Red Sox remain within striking distance.....

In this celebrity era, the Yankees have to get back to the team game and putting their eye on the real prize, not 600 home runs, but doing whatever it takes to winning the AL East, day by day. This is serious baseball. You can’t let any distractions get in your way or you will get annihilated.

Funny how a record nobody supposedly cared about is causing so much mayhem. Actually, in the 12 (not 11) games since A-Rod hit #599, the Yankees won five of the first seven games, taking two out of three from the Kansas City Royals, and three out of four from Cleveland. It's hard to see how the home run chase had anything to do with that.

The Yankees' current doldrums really started during their trip to Tampa, where they lost two out of three, and now at home against Toronto, where they've lost two in a row. This also coincided with A-Rod going into a slump -- he hasn't had a hit since the Cleveland series..

Are A-Rod's current doldrums affecting the team? Of course -- he is the cleanup hitter, after all, and when he's not driving in runs, the team will suffer. But he's certainly not the only reason the Yankees have lost four of the last five games.

When the entire team gets only two hits off Ricky Romero, your pitching is going to have to be perfect to win. And that's a lot to expect from Dustin Moseley. When your Number 2 starter gives up eight runs, as A.J. Burnett did the night before, you can't expect victory.

Later in his piece, Kernan does bring up how "the combination of the trade deadline, adding several new Yankees, A-Rod’s crawl to 600 and A.J. Burnett’s theatrics created a kind of bad brew that has knocked the Yankees off their game." But No. 13 still gets the lion's share of the blame. Of course.

The New York Daily News' Tim Smith blames Rodriguez, too:
The Yankees were leading the division by four games since the day after this quest for 600 started. Since then they have dropped five games in the standing.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

Rodriguez's quest for No. 600 is dragging the team down. There was a time when his lack of home run production was offset by his ability to hit balls into the gaps and drive in runs. And the team was winning. Now he's not even doing that, and Yankee hitters are following him into some kind of hitless abyss. He's mired in a 0-for-17 slump and is 9-for-46 since hitting 599.
Amazing that one player can cause such problems, eh? A-Rod slumps; therefore, the entire team can't hit -- or pitch. Unbelievable.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Matt Warden said...

What's your opinion here? Are you chastizing the media for blaming A-Rod? Or are you suggesting their is validity to it?

Either way, the idea that A-Rod slumping is a cause for the whole team to slump is a really gross oversimplification.

Does it really surprise anyone the Yankees were able to beat the Royals or Indians? They are two very weak teams. The Rays (and Jays to a degree) have some serious talent.

Games are won/lost with pitching. I think you'll find a correlation to the Yanks record if you start there.

Lisa Swan said...

Matt, if you can't figure out that I'm chastising the media here, then I don't know what to tell ya. After all, I don't want to cause "brain aneurisms" (sic) here or anything.

Uncle Mike said...

Lisa, you said it yourself: The Yankees' current doldrums began with A-Rod actually going into a slump. For the first half (at this point) of the 599 drought, he was hitting about .300; since then, he's been hopeless.

Put it this way: If the Mets had been 3 games in front of the NL East (stop laughing, people, this is serious), and their fans were partying like it's 1986, and then suddenly they went into a slump and got passed by the Phillies or Braves, and there was the revelation of the stat of their cleanup hitter, David Wright, was in, say, a 4-for-25 slump over the last 6 games, wouldn't he naturally be the first target? After all, if he were hitting like, say, the A-Rod of 2007, maybe it wouldn't matter how poorly the Mets were pitching: They might win anyway.

You have to be able to rely on your cleanup hitter. At this point, the Yankees might be better off with someone else in the 4 slot until A-Rod starts hitting again. In other words... yes, A-Rod is the most to blame. More than A.J. Burnett or the bullpen, because he's NOT done it just about every day. That's not opinion, and that's not bias: That's stastically-backed fact.

Anonymous said...

Really Lisa advice to you is to just stop reading the papers. You writing about it is making it just as much a story as the others.
I doubt Alex cares as much about these stories as you do.

Alex will hit it and when he does I'm hoping he goes on a tear. Since I'm running out of money (not to mention exhausted) going to all these games to see #600 I really hope he does it SOON !!! I won't be there today because it's a day game but I won't mind if he hits it. Just get it over with already.

I also have advice for Alex..READ YOUR MEMOS...shame on him for missing picture

Go Yankees 2010 !!

Lisa Swan said...

Uncle Mike,

There's a big difference between A-Rod between "a part of" and "the total cause" of the team's slump. As I wrote, A-Rod didn't cause the Yanks to get just two hits against Ricky Romero. A-Rod didn't give up eight runs against the Blue Jays. The team is .227/.298/.419 over the last 11 games. You can't possibly blame that all on A-Rod.

Uncle Mike said...

Statistically, I meant.

Also, Happy Anniversary, Met fans. It was 25 years ago today that Tom Seaver won his 300th game. For the Chicago White Sox, at Yankee Stadium. I was there, along with 27,000 other Yankee Fans, and about as many Met fans. (Attendance was 54,032, and I'm pretty sure we can split the difference.)

The Mets were beating the Cubs at Wrigley the same day, and Dwight Gooden struck out 16. When the score went up on the out-of-town scoreboard, a "Let's Go Mets" chant went up, followed by a "Mets suck" chant, followed by lots of fights. I've seen Yanks-Sox at both the old Stadium and Fenway, and I've been to hockey games at the Garden, the old Boston Garden and the new Philly arena, but I've never seen as much fighting at a sporting event as I saw that day.

Still, all 54,000 rose as one to applaud Seaver off the field. Yes, at age 40, he pitched a complete game, winning 4-1, 6 hits, just 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, and by no means was he slipping at the end. Master at work.

Lisa Swan said...

Peggy, you're probably right about reading the papers. All it does is give me agita! ;)

Matt Warden said...

Sometimes it's hard to tell tone though text. I figured by the title of your post you were opposing the media's perception but by the end of the post, you said:

"Rodriguez's quest for No. 600 is dragging the team down. There was a time when his lack of home run production was offset by his ability to hit balls into the gaps and drive in runs."

I wasn't sure whether you were being facetious or not.

As for the brain come on, it's funny!

Lisa Swan said...

Matt, don't know how my blog entry is showing up on your browser/reader, but that quote was from Tim Smith, not me. I have it indented and in differently-styled text to delineate a block quote, but maybe it's not showing up correctly in all browsers. Sorry for the confusion!

As for the brain aneurism thing, full disclosure - Squawker Jon did laugh over it, even if I didn't!

Matt Warden said...

Ahh I see now. Yeah, I'm definitely not seeing any indents. The post makes more sense to me now.

I'm glad Jon found it amusing. Hopefully you weren't too offended. ;)

Anonymous said...

Gay-Rod will get his 600th homer this weekend when the Red Sox come to town, because that is when the Yanker brain trust (try not to laugh at that oxymoron) wants him to do it. That way they can perpetuate the myth that the Yankers greatest moments always come against the Red Sox. It's just another example of how the Yankers manipulate the system with their boat loads of money.

Maybe the Red Sox should start showing video clips of the 2004 ALCS (games 4 - 7 only) on the score board at Fenway when the Yankers are batting, just to get everyone in the right frame of mind.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway to "flush" the urinal commenter since everything he/she says is usually a bunch of crap anyway ..LOL

Go Yankees 2010 !!

Matt Warden said...

Peggy - Don't encourage censorship. Just appreciate how absurd the post was, and take it with a MAJOR grain of salt.

Urinal - Way to set the new standard for stupid. Kudos.

Anonymous said...

A-Fraud just hit his 600th! Now can we please move on!

Uncle Mike said...

As that great Detroit Tiger fan Gerald Ford would say, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over." 600 at last!

No, not "all great Yankee moments" come against the Red Sox, Freshy. A few have come against the Mets. Like the 2000 World Series. And the Luis Castillo Game. Come to think of it, didn't A-Rod hit that popup? Now that was a clutch hit!

Anonymous said...

yeah.......okay.... what's that your smoking Mikey?

Uncle Mike said...

You! As usual, I'm smoking you. Where've you been these last few days, as the Mets sink deeper and deeper into... what they usually sink into?

Anonymous said...

Where have I been? It's football season, to hell with baseball. Are you ready for some football? Go Jets!

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