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Against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Alex Rodriguez reached a career home run milestone that rattled not the country; nay, the world. What his dinger did, though, was put him 100 homers away from his next numerical landmark, so while we wait another three or four years for A-Rod to inch ever north, are there going to be any other career home run milestones in the meantime?
Well, there sure are. Allow me to list them for you!
Jim Thome: 577 home runs
Manny Ramirez: 554
Albert Pujols: 392
Jim Edmonds: 390
Guys like Miguel Tejada, Garret Anderson, and Magglio Ordonez are hanging out just below 300, but 300 is nothing. 400 is where it starts to sound impressive, 500 is where it starts to sound historic, and 600 is where it starts to become the stuff of legends. Or asterisks. Pujols and Edmonds are the closest to reaching another of baseball's hallowed round numbers, but Thome's approaching the bigger mark, and given his .914 OPS with the Twins so far this season, it would seem that he'll be able to hang around produce for long enough to climb his way there.
If the response to A-Rod's achievement has been mixed, Thome, I should think, will approach 600 with near unanimous support.
MLB.com doesn't like to share its high quality videos with anybody on the internet until the games are all over, so you'll have to bear with us, as the following .gifs are the best we can do for the time being.
Alex returned to the dugout for hugs and high-fives, and, naturally, gave a curtain call shortly thereafter. The game then proceeded with little delay, making this a considerably more watchable achievement than Cal Ripken's Iron Man clincher.
Curious what a batted baseball looks like? Courtesy of @MLB_Authentic, we've got the following image of A-Rod's historic home run ball:
The ball was hit into Monument Park and was retrieved by a 23 year old security guard who was filling in for another security guard.
In the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, the nation's long national nightmare came to a halt... Err, nevermind. Favre's still undecided. But Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run!
It came on a 2-0 fastball right down the middle of the plate, and it ends homerless drought that extended back to July 23, as Rodridguez remained stuck on 599 home runs and stuck squarely in the spotlight as he chased 600. Now, it's over, and Rodriguez, the Yankees, and their fans can finally get back to focusing on being the best team in baseball.
Though the Yankees had planned on offering lunch with A-Rod and Cameron Diaz to win the ball back from whichever fan caught it, that won't be necessary, as it landed in Monument Park, out of reach from a lucky fan. Similarly out of luck is Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum, who had the indignity of giving up no. 600.
In any case, it's over, and A-Rod has made history while getting one step closer to making more.
We'll have more, including video, as it emerges from New York City.
Ricky Romero is a very good pitcher, see, and over a complete game win, he limited the Yankees to two hits and a walk. One of those hits was a home run, but the author of said home run was not Alex Rodriguez, but rather Mark Teixeira. A-Rod's day:
Tomorrow brings Shaun Marcum, against whom A-Rod is 4-17 in his career with a home run, six walks, and four strikeouts. Marcum's another one of Toronto's excellent starting pitchers, but the righty has never shown much of a platoon split, which works a little bit in Alex's favor. And all of our favors, really, as I think everyone just wants A-Rod to get it out of the way.
A-Rod's longest home run drought in his career is 17 games, set during his 1994 cup of coffee. Last season, however, he went 16 games without a homer between July 20th and August 6th. So, again, I stress that this is not yet the time for panic. Alex seems to have a streak or two like this just about every year. We'll worry if and when he reaches the higher teens.
It's still going, in case you stopped paying attention. Monday night, the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 8-6, dropping into a first-place tie for the first time in a month and a half. And Alex Rodriguez went hitless in five trips to the plate. He hasn't homered since July 22nd. His performance this time:
Inspired. And with Ricky Romero taking the hill for the Blue Jays tomorrow, it'll be another challenge, as Romero has been one of the American League's better starting pitchers on the year.
It's worth noting that A-Rod didn't hit his first home run until the 11th game of the season, and had a 15-game slump between homers No. 2 and 3. Another slump lasted 12 games, one more lasted nine, and still another lasted seven. So while we may all grow impatient, this is not yet a situation that calls for panic. Rather, it calls for patience. Alex will get there eventually. Maybe even tomorrow. We just have to give him his time.
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – James Shields tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings to help the Tampa Bay Rays take a 3-0 win over the New York Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game set from Tropicana Field.
Shields (10-9) gave up four hits, struck out 11, and walked one to pick up the win for the Rays, who have won eight of nine to move within one game of the AL East-leading Yankees. Rafael Soriano recorded his 30th save of the season.
Carl Crawford and Kelly Shoppach each had an RBI for the victors.
“I was pretty efficient with my pitches,” Shields said. “That’s a big series win for us.”
New York third baseman Alex Rodriguez was not in the starting lineup, but he did come on as pinch-hitter in the seventh. He struck out, though, and remains stuck at 599 homers for his career.
Outfielder Austin Kearns went 0-for-2 in his debut with the Yankees, who went 4-3 on a seven-game road trip. Kearns was acquired from Cleveland on Friday.
CC Sabathia (13-5) went 6 2/3 innings in the start, allowing three runs on eight hits to take the loss. The left-hander has lost two straight starts since winning nine consecutive decisions.
“I didn’t think he had great command of his sinker,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Sabathia. “But he found a way to keep the game close and give us a chance.”
After New York stranded runners on the corners in the top of the second, the Rays plated one run in the bottom half. Willy Aybar led off the frame with a ground-rule double to left. Following two outs, Shoppach hit a soft liner just over the glove of first baseman Lance Berkman allowing Aybar raced home on the play to make it 1-0.
The Yankees put a man on third with two outs in the top of the third, but Mark Teixeira struck out to end the threat. Tampa Bay made the visitors pay by scoring twice more in the home third. Reid Brignac singled and B.J. Upton doubled to get things started. Crawford then plated a run with an infield single. Upton scored when Evan Longoria grounded into a double play.
Shields retired nine straight batters — seven via the strikeout — before Berkman hit a one-out single to right in the sixth. Teixeira lined out and Robinson Cano grounded out to end the inning.
Derek Jeter singled with one out in the eighth, chasing Shields from the game. Chad Qualls, who was acquired by the Rays from Arizona on Saturday, came into the game and got Berkman to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Tampa Bay leads the season series with New York, 6-5…Sabathia fell to 8-4 lifetime versus the Rays…Shields improved to 3-7 in his career against the Yankees…Tampa Bay will recall pitcher Jeremy Hellickson on Monday from Triple-A Durham to make his MLB debut against the Twins…The Rays were without first baseman Carlos Pena (right foot) and outfielder Ben Zobrist (back)…Berkman went 1-for-4 in his second game with New York, which opens a seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Blue Jays starting Monday.
GOOD NEWS: Three Yankees hit home runs in tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. BAD NEWS: None of them were Alex Rodriguez. Here's A-Rod's performance against Matt Garza and Rafael Soriano:
- fly out
- pop out
That pushes A-Rod's homerless streak to nine games, which would be more alarming if he hadn't gone through three such streaks of at least nine games already this season; his worst "slump" reached 15 games between April 21 and May 7.
Oh, and the Yankees won 5-4 off Robinson Cano's solo home run in the top of the ninth. But more importantly, A-Rod, you guys. When will our long national nightmare end?
Now this is getting annoying. Friday makes it the eighth straight game that Alex Rodriguez has remained stuck at 599 career home runs, having managed the following effort against Wade Davis and the Rays bullpen:
And this time, the Yankees lost 3-2, their lead in the East over the Rays getting cut in half. Bad news all around. So what's A-Rod looking at tomorrow? Saturday evening will bring him Matt Garza, who's fresh off the first no-hitter in Rays franchise history. The righty is very good, and has electric stuff, but I'm beyond the point of wanting to analyze A-Rod's chances of going deep every day. If he does it, he does it. If he doesn't do it, well, wow, that would be embarrassing.
A familiar story on Thursday - the Yankees beat up on their opponent by a score of 11-4, and Alex Rodriguez failed to hit a home run. It was a happy occasion for the Yankees as they once again maintained their two-game lead on the Rays in the East, but as far as A-Rod is concerned, the pressure's just mounting. His game:
Those two fly balls had some distance to them, but alas, history was not meant to be made. Said Alex after the game:
Fans came to see A-Rod anyway, buzzing in anticipation each time he came up, cheering loudly every time he failed. He went 3 for 17 in the series that drew 112,060, including Thursday’s crowd of 34,455 that was the Indians’ largest since opening day. They jammed a walkway past the left-field wall in hopes of catching the milestone shot.
“I didn’t notice them until somebody told me so I took a peek and was shocked,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t hit many that way. They should have gone somewhere else.”
He'll give it yet another go this weekend in a series against the second-place Rays. Friday night's starter opposing the Yankees is 24 year old righty Wade Davis, a Rays prospect with a decent fastball and three other pitches. Davis is talented and has the bulk of his struggles against left-handed hitters, but he's a hittable adversary, so the door's wide open for A-Rod to do this tomorrow and get the whole thing out of the way. Alternatively, the Yankees are right back home next Monday, so, who knows.
The Yankees whooped up on the Indians Wednesday evening, knocking Fausto Carmona out in the third inning en route to an easy 8-0 win. The win helped keep the Yankees' lead in the AL East at two games over Tampa Bay. But while the team celebrated, Alex Rodriguez failed again in his quest to hit one more home run. His performance:
Alex will give career home run number 600 another try Thursday night against Mitch Talbot and the same Indians. A-Rod has only faced Talbot three times, hitting a single, striking out, and getting beaned. As Talbot is a right-handed groundball pitcher, going deep will once again not be an easy task, but, hey, any day now. I wonder how much longer we'll wait before we go back to saying Alex can't hit under pressure.
Josh Tomlin. You know him? Me neither. But he was good enough to pitch into the eighth inning against the Yankees in his Major League debut, allowing one run while striking out two in 7+. And A-Rod? There was no history made on his 35th birthday. His performance:
-fly out to deep right
Alex's deep fly out came down just shy of the track. He's now 5-20 in five games since hitting dinger #599, and if he intends to break through on Wednesday, he'll have to try to do it against Fausto Carmona, a hard-throwing sinkerballer who's only allowed four homers to righties in 2010, and 25 homers to righties over his career, spanning 1321 plate appearances. In other words, it's not going to be easy. Of course, there's always the bullpen.
As happens on most nights, the Yankees won on Monday, a 3-2 decision over the home Cleveland Indians. And as happens on most nights, Alex Rodriguez didn't go deep. The Yankee third baseman was back in the lineup after taking a pitch off the hand on Sunday, but facing trade candidate Jake Westbrook and Chris Perez, he wound up 0-4, doing the following:
-lineout to left
-groundout to short
-pop out to right
A-Rod will give his run towards 600 home runs another go on Tuesday, when CC Sabathia and the Yankees square off against rookie Josh Tomlin and the Indians. Tomlin, a 25 year old righty, will be making his big league debut after posting a 2.68 ERA with AAA Columbus. Tomlin is a control pitcher with an 88-91mph fastball and four different weapons.
The Yankees bounced back on Sunday after losing to the Royals the day before, but Alex Rodriguez went homerless once again, grounding out in the second, doubling in the third, grounding out in the fifth, and singling in the seventh. A-Rod and the Yankees then got a real scare when he was hit in the hand by an errant pitch in the eighth and had to come out of the game, but there's good news on that front:
Both Rodriguez and manager Joe Girardi stated that the third baseman was fine after the game and could resume his chase for 600 home runs on Monday night in Cleveland.
"I have pretty much full strength, so I should be OK," Rodriguez said. "It's very easy to break a bone or chip a bone. I'm just glad it's OK."
The only real downside here is that the Yankees play their next seven games on the road in Cleveland and Tampa Bay, so if A-Rod goes deep within the next week, he'll do it in front of another team's crowd.
On Saturday afternoon, Alex Rodriguez failed to hit his 600th career home run against the Royals in Yankee Stadium. The match-up against Royals starter Kyle Davies was a favorable one for A-Rod, as he was 3-for-4 with a home run in his past appearances vs. Davies, but he'll need to wait at least one more day.
The Yankees fell to the Royals, 7-4. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, there was potential for a dramatic finish, as a hit for Mark Teixeira would have put Rodriguez, the winning run, at the plate. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Teixeira was ruled out by a controversial call at first base.
At 1:05 Eastern on Sunday, the Yankees will play the third of a four-game series against the Royals, who have not yet announced their starting pitcher.
For more on A-Rod's chase, check in with our Yankees blog, Pinstripe Alley.
Alex Rodriguez went 2 for 4 with a walk Friday night but failed to hit home run No. 600.
Rodriguez will face RHP Kyle Davies in Saturday’s third game of the four-game set. Rodriguez has had success in limited at bats against Davies, going 3 for 4 with a double and a home run and three RBI.
An inning after hitting his 599th career home run, Alex Rodriguez came up again with a chance for 600.
With the crowd on its feet, Rodriguez drove a 2-2 pitch to deep right center field for a run-scoring double and cap a 3 for 5, four RBI night in the Yankees’ 10-4 victory.
Rodriguez goes for No. 600 on Friday night against Kansas City right hander Brian Bannister.
The chances are good for history to be made Friday: Rodriguez has three home runs in seven career at bats against Bannister.
On Thursday night, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez moved within only one home run of a milestone that has eluded all but six baseball players in major league history.
A-Rod's seventh-inning shot off the Royals' Robinson Tejeda was a solo blast that bolstered the Yankees' lead to 6-4. For the 2010 season, Rodriguez now has 599 career home runs. Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Sammy Sosa are the only players to smash over 600 career homers.
To date, the youngest player to hit his 600th career home run was a 36-year-old Babe Ruth. Rodriguez celebrated his 35th birthday on July 27th.
With only one home run left to hit, Rodriguez's Yankees play the remainder of Thursday night's game, as well as the following three games, against a Royals team that possesses one of the weakest pitching staffs in baseball.
A good day for the Yankees was a bad day for Alex Rodriguez's pursuit of 600 home runs, as the star went 0-5 during a 10-6 win. A-Rod grounded out three times and flew out to left and right fields, and will now turn his sights to the series ahead, a four-game set against the Kansas City Royals.
The probable starters:
LHP Bruce Chen
RHP Brian Bannister
RHP Kyle Davies
RHP Anthony Lerew
Zack Greinke started for the Royals on Wednesday, so A-Rod will not have to deal with that particular challenge.
It's not quite right to say that Alex Rodriguez is "stuck" at 598 home runs, considering he just homered two games ago, but when there's history to be made, fans and observers see little need for patience. Wednesday - A-Rod's second game at his current level - sees him go up against Joel Pineiro in the finale of a two-game set against the Angels.
Rodriguez has seen Pineiro 35 times over his career, with four singles, a double, a walk, and 11 strikeouts. That, already, holds little significance, but reducing the significance even further is that Rodriguez has faced Pineiro just six times since the pitcher re-invented himself as a sinkerballer in St. Louis. Pineiro is a different pitcher now than he used to be, and so his history with A-Rod is just about meaningless.
This new version of Pineiro shows little in the way of preference for facing lefties or righties, and as a sinkerballer, he doesn't allow many fly balls and therefore doesn't allow many home runs. So he'll be a challenge for A-Rod's homer pursuit. Still, considering Pineiro has allowed home runs to the likes of Brendan Harris, Gerald Laird, and Brad Penny on the year, the opportunity is there.
Your A-Rod update:
Against Sean O'Sullivan and the Angel bullpen Tuesday night, Alex Rodriguez went 2-4 with a double, but he also grounded out, flew out, and singled on a grounder to center, never coming all that close to a home run. He'll try again on Wednesday against Joel Pineiro, against whom he has fairly significant personal experience.
Tuesday was to match Alex Rodriguez against Scott Kazmir, but the struggling southpaw was placed on the DL, and righty Sean O'Sullivan slid in to take his place. Rodriguez has never faced the 22 year old, who throws his fastball in the 89-91mph range and likes his curve.
We're not here to make up any odds. We're just here to casually preview A-Rod's chances of going deep.
Working In A-Rod's Favor Tuesday Night
-O'Sullivan is unproven and unspectacular
-O'Sullivan is unlikely to go late in the game, exposing the Angels' middle relief
-the game is at Yankee Stadium, where A-Rod has enjoyed good home run success
Not Working In A-Rod's Favor Tuesday Night
-O'Sullivan, like A-Rod, is right-handed, which might be meaningful, even though A-Rod has a slight reverse platoon split for his career
-the rest of the Angels' relievers, aside from their closer, are also right-handed
-hitting home runs is hard
You never expect a guy to hit two home runs in any single given game, so the likelihood that A-Rod reaches 600 tonight is low. It's not impossible, though, and the opposition is mediocre, so even if he doesn't make it all the way, he still stands a good chance of cutting the deficit in half.
Ordinarily, when a player is approaching a milestone, fans will cheer him on and root for him to make history. But Alex Rodriguez is in no way ordinary. And so it's entirely appropriate that the response to his current homer chase, even from a Yankees fan, is complex and uncertain:
I was asked recently what plans we had at SB Nation New York to commemorate Alex Rodriguez' imminent entry into baseball's exclusive 600-home run club.
Simple question. The answer, though, is anything but simple. Rodriguez is a complicated man, always has been throughout his career. How to feel about him as he nears becoming the seventh player in history to reach 600 home runs -- he enters play Tuesday night in Anaheim with 598 -- is also, of course, complicated.
Why would it be anything else?
Thus, how is it truly possible to know what to feel or how to react as Rodriguez approaches this latest milestone?
It isn't. At least for me.
One thing is certain - no matter what anyone can say about A-Rod as a player or A-Rod as a person, he didn't fluke his way to 598. While the response to the achievement will be mixed, the achievement itself will be extraordinary.
Alex Rodriguez's home run off of Andy Sonnanstine on Sunday wasn't a big one in a game context, as it merely extended the Yankees' lead over the Rays to 9-4. However, it was a big one in a career context, as it was his 598th dinger, putting A-Rod just two away from one of those prized round numbers.
At 598, Rodriguez ranks seventh all-time, sandwiched between Sammy Sosa and Frank Robinson. The list:
|5||Ken Griffey Jr.||630|
Already in exclusive company, just two more homers will allow A-Rod to reach another popular milestone in a decorated career. Though many will argue that the home run has been cheapened by the era the game has gone through, amassing as many as Rodriguez has is a testament to just how good he really is, and how long he's been at or near the top of the leaderboards. A-Rod has hit at least 23 homers every year since 1996, and failed to hit 30 just once.
Tuesday night, the Yankees begin a brief two-game series against the Angels before hosting the Royals for four. The Angels will start Sean O'Sullivan and Joel Pineiro. Rodriguez has never faced O'Sullivan, and is 5-33 against Pineiro with zero home runs. Of course, that doesn't actually mean very much. If A-Rod wants to reach 600 at home, he'll have to do it within the next six games, or wait until the beginning of August.
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