Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees 2005

the Yanks went a whole series unbeaten against the Devil Rays.

At the sixth and last time of asking the Yankees swept the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a series, leaving the season score at 11-8 to the 60-87 Tampa side. Unlike the other times the Yanks didn’t go on to lose the rest of the games after smacking the D-Rays for a bundle of runs in one game.

What a difference those 3 losses make, reverse the season and the Yanks are ahead of the Red Sox in AL East race, then add in the sweep suffered at the hands of the KC Royals and the last 3 games of the season against the Sox at Fenway wouldn’t have as much riding on them.

Currently 1.5 games behind the Sox and half a game behind the Indians in the wild card, with agame in hand on them both it’s all in the Yanks own hands now in the last 17 games of the season. 3 home & away against Toronto, 4 h&a against Baltimore and those last 3.

I don’t know, this and the Ashes can’t be good for the old ticker at all.

Hopefully during this last push to get into the post season A-Rod will continue to do what he’s been doing all year long and in the process find himself in possession of the AL MVP award, the first Yankee to do so since Don Mattingly (1985).

Facing stiff competition from mainly Ortiz Tom Verducci thinks it’s only A-Rod’s to lose –

Rodriguez has had the best season statistically. He leads the league in runs, home runs, total bases and slugging, and is second to teammate Giambi in on-base percentage. He’s been on base 15 more times than Ortiz and 40 more than Guerrero. He’s started every game this year and hit 26 percent more home runs at Yankee Stadium (24) than any right-handed hitter in the history of the famed ballpark.

He’s been good enough in the clutch. Ortiz is the gold standard for clutch hitters because of his knack for hitting home runs, not just singles, in big spots. But the idea that Rodriguez doesn’t come through often enough in big spots is a myth…Rodriguez is just as tough an out in a big spot as Ortiz — actually, a little tougher if you read on-base percentage as the percentage of time the batter wins the war against the pitcher. The numbers do show that Ortiz is better at delivering the big blow — the best in the game, in fact. But don’t discount Rodriguez’s work in key spots.

Ortiz doesn’t play defence. There is no way to understate this. The guy is half a player. He is a specialist. He can devote his entire energies to his at-bats. There is a good reason why no position player ever has won the MVP with fewer than 97 games played in the field (Don Baylor, 1979). A DH would have to be miles better than the next best player who actually contributes to his team in both halves of the game. Is Ortiz having that kind of a season over Rodriguez? No. Meanwhile, Rodriguez, after a shaky start, has provided Gold Glove quality defence at third base, once running off the longest errorless streak among all AL third basemen over the past seven years. Sports Illustrated

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