It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were supposed to discuss the Royals surge (and fall) or about the Dodgers dominance (with no small nod to Clayton Kershaw) or Maz Scherzer going David Cone or Fredo Amaro Junior doing Uncle Cholly dirty.
But no, we will not discuss those things, not off the top. Instead it is all Alex Rodriguez, all the time.
If anything, Alex Rodriguez is a topic for discussion because Alex Rodriguez is available for us to discuss. More than the battling leaks and latest gossip on the Biogenesis front, Alex Rodriguez is still on the field making plays. Alex Rodriguez is now a presence in the middle of the moribund Yankees lineup, affecting pennant races while he appeals his suspension – as he is collectively-bargained right. Even after he was offered a far lighter suspension than the 211 games he was eventually suspended for.
Whether or not his union brothers agree that A-Rod should still be out there, out there is his. And after Ryan Dempster decided to go the frontier justice route, last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game became about Alex Rodriguez and nothing else.
A-Rod gets beaned and the reverse sanctimony begins (“beanballs are worse that PEDs, by gum!”) and sides are once again drawn up. Not that five and dive Dempster can afford extra base runners, but that’s the route he choose.
The stage was set for a big night for Alex Rodriguez, who used the national TV audience platform to launch a quiet reminder that he’s quite good at baseball, thank you very much. Rodriguez had three hits, including a delicious home run which forever cements the idea that no good deed goes unpunished.
Rodriguez was at the center of controversy and now finds himself at the center of the AL East pennant race, though the Yankees are merely spectators. A-Rod’s five hits, two walks, one steal and one very noteworthy hit by pitch helped his Yankees take two of three from the division leading Red Sox. The reeling Sox played their final, biggest pennant chase card in the aftermath of Sunday’s game, calling up Xander Bogaerts from triple-A as well as activating catcher David Ross from the disabled list.
Waiting until after the circus passed through town was probably a good call as it relates to the Red Sox top prospect, the 20-year old shortstop who is expected to play third base for the Sox down the stretch while spelling Stephen Drew at shortstop.
These are the kinds of the decisions the Red Sox must make. The Yankees need to deftly manage this situation (though they aren’t.) There is so much heat on Rodriguez right now, every move scrutinized and analyzed. It’s a mess. A delightful mess when Alex Rodriguez hits home runs and takes over games, but a mess none the less. Excuse me while I crane my neck to catch a glimpse of the carcrash, just like everyone else.
Miguel Tejada was suspened 105 games for “unauthorized use of medication” (read :taking Adderall), which all but spells the end of his career. Adderall serves as a de facto greenie, as the recent swell of persciptions among MLB players attests. Unless, of course, you’re Mike Pelfrey and you actually need it so you actively maintain your “therapeutic use” exemption rather than just freedom rocketing your way out of the league.
Game Chart of the Weekend
I’ll say this about #Natitude, it has an annoying way of coming through. A 15 inning game, saved by Dan Haren and lost by Kris Medlen, started by Stephen Strasburg. A game in which featured 518 total pitches – only 23 thrown by the Nats ace.
Stephen Strasburg hit Justin Upton in the first inning, following a Jason Heyward lead off home run. Then, in the second inning, Strasburg either completely lost his release point (spoiler: nope) or his lost his fool mind. Strasburg threw three pitches straight to the backstop, two behind Andrelton Simmons. After the earlier beaning and subsequent bench warnings, Strasburg was tossed from the game for his attempts (?) to hit Simmons.
Jason Heyward, still maybe pretty good? Who even knows any more?
An update on the AL MVP race
In the seventh inning of Saturday night’s game between the Trout’s Angels and the Houston Astro, Mike Trout “manufactured” a run in the most individual sense. He walked, stole second base then scored (from second) on a hot shot which barely traveled beyond the infield cutout, using an aggressive slide to dislodge the ball and plate the tying run.
Miguel Cabrera rebuts.
At least Mike Trout looks right, for one weekend at least. The Angels flashback weekend was a delight for the eyes.
Look at these lovable scamps, blowing bubbles and tossing seeds and having a wonderful time of it all. OH THEY SURE DO A LOT OF BLOWING ALRIGHT.
Blessed is the “FIRE [GM's name] CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP” chant, always the sign of a franchise headed in the right direction.
Something appears to be on fire in the parking lot. pic.twitter.com/MRdupJW0o9
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 18, 2013
Maybe not a fever but this bomb gave me the vapors!
There is actually quite a bit to be excited about for Mets fans. Matt Harvey is still Matt Harvey, despite the Mets losing his start on Sunday. This weekend marked the big league debut of Travis d’Arnaud, one of two big prospects the Mets received in exchange for R.A. Dickey this winter. While the other, Noah Snydergaard, blazes his way through double-A, it was the nearly big league-ready catcher that made that deal so attractive for the Mets.
As skilled as he is, d’Arnaud has a really hard time staying on the field. At least, throughout his minor league career he did. But those days are over, as he made his debut Saturday as the Mets starter John Buck went on the paternity list. The Mets front office suggested this weekend that d’Arnaud could stay with the club, getting the bulk of the playing time down the stretch as the quickly rebuilding Mets look toward next season.
With the sudden call-up, the Mets equipment managers were pressed into duty, creating a suitable jersey for their new backstop with a slightly unusual lowercase “d” in his surname. A upside-down “P” more than does the trick! (Hat tip @Sportslogosnet)
Interesting the Travis d’Arnaud jumps ahead of John Buck on the depth chart as he makes his debut. Way back in 2010, the Toronto Blue Jays had another catcher banging on the big league door, with John Buck installed as the starter at the time.
That player, J.P. Arencibia, remains the Blue Jays starting catcher even today. That catcher, J.P. Arenciba, has famously struggled to get on base this season, despite hitting a bunch of home runs. That player, J.P. Arencibia, only drew four walks through the first two months of 2013.
Travis d’Arnaud? He managed to walk four times…in his first two big league games. Flags fly forever, though.
UNRELATED PALATE CLEANSER