The month of April was not kind to Alex Rodriguez or the New York Yankees offense, but maybe the two are reliant upon one another.
New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez’s fairytale swing was on display twice in Sunday night’s tight loss to the Red Sox.
Two towering drives to left-center, one for his 692nd career home run and one a two-run double, off Boston starter David Price drove in four runs and kept New York in a see-saw battle in Beantown.
The homer was A-Rod’s third in four games as his balance and overall power appears to have returned. This revitalization is essential for the Yankees.
Not only is Rodriguez a power bat in the middle of the lineup, but he is a right-handed bat that spaces out a lefty-heavy batting order. When he is on, the lineup clicks. It has become that simple for the Yanks.
As we know throughout A-Rod’s tenure with the Yanks, his home runs come in bunches. They can become contagious for both himself and the team.
In the first half of 2015, Alex slashed .278/.382/.515 with 51 RBIs as the Yankees rode his and the team’s success to first place in the AL East. Conversely, in the second half he slashed a weak .216/.324/.448 with only 35 RBIs as the Yanks squandered their first place lead to the Jays.
When A-Rod was not producing, the lineup was experiencing the same troubles that are apparent currently. They were extremely stagnant, susceptible to lefties, and had no circular effect whatsoever.
With that being said, it says something that an April where Rodriguez hit .185 and only drove in only eight runs went alongside an 8-15 last place team.
Fortunately for the Yanks, that production has returned. A-Rod looked lost at the plate for the majority of April as he was caught guessing on numerous occasions and was extremely overpowered as well. In his last handful of games, his timing has been impeccable, he is extremely balanced, and he is explosive through the zone.
If history repeats itself, May could quite possibly be very kind to both Rodriguez and the Yankees. Statistically, the month of May has been more than kind to New York’s slugger. In fact, his .310/.393/.566 slash with 117 homers in 464 games proves to be arguably his best month throughout his career.
Take May of last year for example. Rodriguez hit .316 with six homers and 14 RBIs following an April in which he only hit .232.
It could be the warmer weather, it could be an older player taking longer to get going, or it could be an outright coincidence. However, the numbers don’t lie in this case. The month of May has yet to fail an awfully streaky player.
At this stage in his career, it is all about catching up with the heater. Both times he drove the ball off Price were on fastballs up in the zone.
The home run into the monster seats in left-center, according to MLB.com StatCast, left his bat at 106 MPH with a launch angle of 31 degrees. The two-run double left his bat at 107 MPH and traveled a recorded 417 feet.
Both were a case of the more velocity out of a pitcher’s hand, the more velocity off the bat concept of basic physics. The early April version of A-Rod would have been half a second late on both of those Price offerings.
The Yanks have to be grateful that this is no longer the early April version of Alex Rodriguez and based on general trends that can only mean success for everyone involved with the exception of the opposition.