You can tell just how hard it was for the media to go with that “A-Rod: clutch God” line of thinking they’ve been forced to adopt this year, because after just two bad games, they’re back into their old groove. First it was Joe Buck last night who, according to one reader, was “single handedly on a mission to resurrect the A-Rod is a choker in the post season movement.” This morning it’s the Daily News who says Rodriguez “suddenly looks as terrible at the plate as he did in far too many previous Octobers.”
Here’s an idea: give the dude the benefit of the doubt and allow for the fact that this is a World Series that, so far, has been marked by dominant starting pitching, even by the losing pitchers. If A-Rod strikes out with the bases loaded in the last at bat of the deciding game, fine, go crazy. In the meantime, hasn’t he earned a little bit of breathing room on this subject?
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.