Best in the biz (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday April 24, 2007 11:33AM; Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2007 12:12PM
Daily A-Rod scoop
In addition to the changes and improvements I cited in Monday's Daily Scoop, some folks close to Alex Rodriguez believe one big key in his historically torrid start is a change in his swing to emphasis the hands and de-emphasize the upper body. They also mention two more positive alterations: he's keeping his head back and not swinging as hard.
Whatever he's doing, he continues to amaze. With two more home runs on Monday in a 10-8 defeat to the Devil Rays, that's two two-homer nights in four games, with both resulting in losses. The Yankees are also 0-7 when A-Rod fails to homer. So the only solution is for him to homer only once, then hope for the best for his beleaguered, beat-up team.
Around the Majors
With the callup of top prospect Phil Hughes to pitch Thursday, much earlier than expected, the Yankees continue to do things to surprise themselves. Torre was going to limit Mariano Rivera to one-inning situations, and that went out the window in Friday's loss to the Red Sox.
One night after brother Jeff Weaver lasted only three innings in Anaheim, Jered Weaver didn't make it out of the second. The younger Weaver was throwing only around 87-89 mph, providing cause for concern.
Gary Matthews Jr. just hit his first homer for his $50 million, but one scout insists, "He's worth it defensively.''
There have been a lot of injuries to pitchers, including Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter and Blue Jays reliever B.J. Ryan. But it's hard to imagine a bigger blow to a staff than Seattle losing the King, Felix Hernandez.
Jim Thome's on-base percentage is at .553 after a recent stretch of 15 walks in six games. That's nearly a hundred points higher than Barry Bonds' (.466).
Jose Reyes is off to a brilliant start, but let's not forget his Marlins shortstop/leadoff counterpart Hanley Ramirez, who's actually ahead of him -- in terms of percentages, anyway. Reyes has a .438 on-base percentage, .610 slugging percentage and .351 batting average compared to .480, .645 and .371 for Ramirez. Both have scored 21 runs. The differences are that Reyes has 16 RBIs and 21 stolen bases to six RBIs and six stolen bases for Ramirez (though both have an .833 steal percentage).
Mark Prior, who needs exploratory surgery, is starting to become a charity case.
Bernie Williams had multiple offers from East Coast teams but hasn't come off his stance of not wanting to play for anyone but the Yankees.
Nomar Garciaparra is batting .391 with runners in scoring position since coming to the Dodgers, compared to .264 with nobody on base. This year, he's hitting .615 with runners in scoring position.
Gary Sheffield only predicted a big year for A-Rod, not for himself. So in a sense, Sheffield (.143 after Monday's game) is 1-for-1 in his predictions.