Hey, this guy’s pretty good.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez slugged three home runs and collected a total of five RBI in Saturday’s 8-3 defeat of the Royals. He delivered a solo shot in the sixth inning, a two-run shot in the seventh and another two-runner in the top of the ninth.
It took Rodriguez a grueling 47 at-bats to climb from career home run No. 599 to 600, but he now has five dingers in his last nine games and an .896 OPS over 47 August at-bats.
Not that the Yankees need the extra help, but A-Rod seems to be getting hot at the right time. He was exceptional in last year’s postseason, helping the Yanks to their 27th World Series title, and there’s a good chance he will play a major role this October.
The Yankees currently hold a two-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East with 46 games to play. They will wrap up a three-game set in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”