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.