A-Rod leads middle of the order turnaroundBy
For much of April we’d see the most frustrating facts about the middle of the Yankees’ order. They simply weren’t producing, and it was costing the Yankees runs — sometimes in game-changing situations. While the starting pitching was rough around the edges to start the season, the middle of the order was as much to blame for the team’s middling start. Lately, though, they’ve turned things around a bit. It all started with Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod started the season with peaks and valleys, but he really started to turn it around when the Yankees returned home from Texas to face Detroit. He entered that series hitting .221/.329/.382 (15 for 68 in 79 PA). Since going 3 for 4 with a homer against Detroit he has hit .371/.458/.484 (23 for 62 in 72 PA). That includes two homers, but just one double. In fact, if there is any concern about A-Rod it is his lack of doubles. He has just three on the season, which could indicate that he’s just not driving the ball as he should.
Even better, in the small sample of 46 PA he has handled lefties reasonably well. He’s hitting just .263 against them (10 for 38), but he does have two homers and one of his three doubles. He had just two homers in all of 2011 against lefties after hitting six in 2010. In each of the last two seasons A-Rod has produce an OPS against righties that far exceeded his mark against lefties — nearly 100 points last year and 130 points in 2010. The turnaround, albeit against a small and selective sample, is encouraging.
A-Rod’s season started turning favorably at the end of April. As we’ll see later this afternoon, the other two major contributors have gotten started a bit later.