John Harper of the New York Daily News, after talking about how Bartolo Colon and the Angels stymied Alex Rodriguez in the 2005 playoffs by pitching him inside, passes along the Angels’ top-secret plan to contain A-Rod this year:
As a scout from a different AL team said yesterday: “The book on (A-Rod) hasn’t changed over the years. You need to come inside hard, above the hands. That’s where his hole (in his swing) is. If you get his attention in there, then you have a better chance of getting him to chase breaking stuff away.”
I’m reminded of the famous passage in “Ball Four” where Jim Bouton observes that almost every single scouting report for every single hitter is “smoke ’em inside and then get him to chase something away.”
Seems to me that the key thing here isn’t a scouting report, it’s the ability to execute it. A-Rod may have a hole in his swing, but based on his career numbers, not too many people have been able to find it.