Some guys can play with a team for a few years and I have a hard time picturing them in any other uniform. Carlos Beltran springs to mind. He joined the Mets in 2005 and right now his time in Kansas City seems like it was decades ago. Other guys can play someplace for around the same amount of time and I still think of them as the property of another club. A-Rod is one of those guys. In my mind he still wears a Mariners or Rangers jersey.
Which is crazy, because as Joel Sherman noted yesterday, A-Rod has been a Yankee longer than you realize:
He has played more than 1,000 games with the Yankees already (1,027), ranking him 41st all-time. That might not read impressive, but he is about to get in the left lane and go zooming up that chart. If he plays just 140 games this season — his eighth with the Yankees — Rodriguez is going to pass Lou Piniella, Joe Pepitone, Tino Martinez, Hal Chase, Charlie Keller, Clete Boyer, Moose Skowron, Tony Kubek and Tom Tresh and rank 32nd all-time. If he plays another 140 games in 2012, Rodriguez would move by Dave Winfield, Red Rolfe, Roger Peckinpaugh, Horace Clarke, Paul O’Neill, Bobby Murcer, Tommy Henrich and Bob Meusel into 24th place.
Another 140 after that puts him in the top 20 and, well, you can see where this is going.
Where it’s going is that A-Rod will one day be in the inner-circle of all-time Yankees as far as games played in pinstripes (or Yankees road grays) goes. Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, Berra territory. Or at least someplace close to it depending on how durable he is during the course of his contract.
I guess it’s not a time thing for me (yes, I acknowledge that headline doesn’t make a ton of sense). Just a time-space perception, because intellectually speaking I know that A-Rod has been with the Yankees since 2004. I just have a hard time getting my brain around it.
Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …
American League Wild Card
NYY @ BAL
HOU @ ARI
LAA @ TEX
This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.
American League West
HOU @ ARI
LAA @ TEX
As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.
American League Best Record
KC @ MIN
TOR @ TB
If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.
National League Wild Card
CIN @ PIT
CHC @ MIL
Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.
Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.
There was a pretty cool moment in Saturday’s game between the Reds and Pirates.
A.J. Burnett has announced that this will be his final season, so his start Saturday at PNC Park might have been the last time he ever pitches off a major league mound. (Pittsburgh has to make it through the Wild Card Game to get the 38-year-old right-hander another turn).
Aware of all this, Joey Votto made eye contact with Burnett just before his at-bat in the top of the first inning and gave a tip of the cap. Er, batting helmet …