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Archive for July 23rd, 2010

Alex Rodriguez has hit 599 home runs, including at least one against 365 different pitchers for 26 different teams in 31 different ballparks, leaving him one long ball away from becoming only the seventh man in major league history to reach 600. Although the build-up to this milestone has been much more subdued than the Yankees and Arod probably envisioned, obtaining 600 home runs at such a young age is still a remarkable achievement. In fact, Arod is so far ahead of every other slugger in the game’s history that, absent a serious injury (or a more significant reoccurrence of his hip issue), he seems to be a lock to surpass Barry Bond’s record of 762. In the meantime, here is a roadmap of Arod’s approach to history, as well as a breakdown of his lofty homerun total.

Most Home Runs Through a Player’s Age-34 Season

Player HR From To Age G PA
Alex Rodriguez 599 1994 2010 18-34 2254 9997
Sammy Sosa 539 1989 2003 20-34 2012 8479
Jimmie Foxx 527 1925 1942 17-34 2213 9400
Babe Ruth 516 1914 1929 19-34 1790 7551
Hank Aaron 510 1954 1968 20-34 2279 9888
Willie Mays 505 1951 1965 20-34 2005 8637
Ken Griffey 501 1989 2004 19-34 1997 8517
Mickey Mantle 496 1951 1966 19-34 2113 8809
Eddie Mathews 493 1952 1966 20-34 2223 9533
Harmon Killebrew 487 1954 1970 18-34 1852 7634

Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Road to 600

HR# Date Opponent Pitcher
1 6/12/1995 Royals Tom Gordon
100 8/12/1998 Blue Jays Nerio Rodriguez
200 5/12/2001 White Sox Jon Garland
300 4/2/2003 Angels Ramon Ortiz
400 6/8/2005 Brewers Jorge DeLaRosa
500 8/4/2007 Royals Kyle Davies

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Arod’s Home Run Breakdown

Team HR Position HR
Yankees 254 SS 344
Mariners 189 3B 244
Texas 156 DH 11
Opponent HR Inning HR
Angels 67 1 109
Orioles 51 2 39
Blue Jays 50 3 78
Twins 45 4 59
Red Sox 45 5 58
Rays 43 6 89
As 43 7 63
Royals 41 8 59
Mariners 32 9 36
Tigers 32 10+ 9
Stadium HR Pitchers HR
Yankee Stadium #2 124 Ramon Ortiz 8
Rangers Ballpark 96 David Wells 8
Kingdome 60 Bartolo Colon 8
Safeco Field 39 Tim Wakefield 7
Angel Stadium 37 Jarrod Washburn 7
Rogers Centre 32 Jeff Suppan 6
Yankee Stadium #3 27 Sidney Ponson 6
Camden Yards 23 Jamie Moyer 6
Metrodome 21 Gil Meche 5
Fenway Park 21 Brad Radke 5
McAfee Coliseum 21 Steve Sparks 5
Tropicana Field 21 Kenny Rogers 5

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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Despite picking up his league leading 13th win, C.C. Sabathia turned in one of his poorest starts of the season. In fact, with a game score of 42, only four starts ranked lower. Luckily for Sabathia, his mound opponent was Bruce Chen, so the margin for error was as large as the lefty himself.

David DeJesus writhes in pain after colliding with the outfield wall on Derek Jeter’s inside-the-park home run (Photo: AP).

In a game that featured 14 hits by each team, it is not surprising that the player who exhibited the best arm was an outfielder. In the first inning, Gardner fired a perfect strike to nail Wilson Betemit at second base for the final out of the inning. Betemit’s hit came with runners on second and third, but he was tagged out by Derek Jeter before the second runner could score. As a result, Gardner’s throw not only recorded an elusive out, but also wiped a run off the board. In the fifth inning, Gardner was able to once again bail out Sabathia when he turned another Betemit hit into an out by gunning Billy Butler down at the plate. Even though replays showed Jorge Posada never actually applied a tag, the strong throw beat Butler to the plate by plenty.

While Gardner was making major contributions with his arm, Jorge Posada was causing a lot of head scratching with his. In the sixth inning, with a man on third and one out, Sabathia induced Yuniesky Betancourt to strike out on a pitch in the dirt. The only problem was that instead of throwing to first, Posada fired to third base in an attempt to nab Willie Bloomquist.  The ill advised play was compounded when the throw bounced past Arod, allowing Bloomquist to score and Betancourt to advance to second, where he was stranded after Sabathia struck out Podsednik and Ankiel to end the inning.

Posada almost literally threw the game away again in the bottom of the seventh. After C.C. Sabathia walked two batters in the top of seventh, Joe Girardi summoned David Robertson to rescue the big guy, whose pitch count reached a season high 120. Robertson retired Mike Aviles on a pop out to first before getting Bloomquist to strike out on a curve ball in the dirt. Posada did a great job blocking the pitch, but then looped a throw to first base that seemed destined for right field. Instead, Mark Teixeira leapt high to grab the toss and then just barely beat Bloomquist to the bag.  Had he been running at full speed out of the box, Bloomquist would have reached safely and the outcome of the game might have been different.

Just as they have done all season, when one part of the team struggles, another steps up to compensate. Last night, it was the offense’s turn and they responded with14 hits and 10 runs. In particular, the first four batters in the lineup went a combined 10-20 with six runs and eight RBIs. Included in that attack was an inside-the-park home run by Derek Jeter on a deep drive to right center that first landed in the outstretched glove of David DeJesus before the outfield wall dislodged the ball and knocked the Royals’ centerfielder from the game. Another deep drive to right of note came off the bat of Alex Rodriguez, who belted his 599th career home run in the seventh inning. Arod had a final at bat in the bottom of the eighth that electrified the Stadium crowd, but history was denied as the Yankee third baseman “only” doubled in two runs to extend the Yankees lead to 10-4.

Although the 10-4 final makes the game look somewhat lopsided, the Yankees had to battle the Royals up until the eighth inning. In fact, with Joba Chamberlain on the mound and the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, the game seemed as if it might be slipping away. Chamberlain was able to wiggle out of the jam, but the question mark surrounding who will be the strongest bridge to Mariano Rivera remains. Even though Joba was entrusted with the eighth inning, it was really Robertson who was called upon to pitch out of the game’s tightest spot. Despite being somewhat inconsistent himself, Robertson has seemed to inch ahead of Chamberlain in the pecking order, which bears watching from here on out. As the calendar quickly approaches the July 31 trade deadline, the bullpen remains one area in which the Yankees could definitely use some major help.

C.C. Sabathia’s Pitch Breakdown

Avg. Speed Max Speed Count Strikes Percentage
Changeup 87.2 88.3 16 13 81.3%
Curve 81.5 81.8 3 3 100.0%
Four Seam Fastball 94.3 96.5 56 38 67.9%
Sinker 93.5 94.5 14 7 50.0%
Slider 79.8 83.1 27 17 63.0%
Inning Pitches Strikes Percentage
1 25 20 80.0%
2 21 14 66.7%
3 9 7 77.8%
4 8 7 87.5%
5 19 9 47.4%
6 18 13 72.2%
7 16 8 50.0%
Total 116 78 67.2%

Source: http://www.brooksbaseball.net

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