Monday, June 20, 2011

Sprained Shoulder For The Horse? Who Cares?

The big news last night in Yankeeland, besides the fact that they kicked the Cubs' candyasses all over Wrigley Field last night, came out early in the game when it was announced that, according to the ever knowledgeable anonymous clubhouse source, The Horse has been playing with a left shoulder strain for the past few weeks, with no clues as to when he hurt it or how severe the injury is.  I'm going to be honest with you, I didn't even realize horses, or centaurs for that matter, had shoulders.  I thought it was kind of like how your lap disappears when you stand up if you're a regular human being.  Walking on all fours like that would eliminate the shoulder from existence, right?  Wrong.  At least I learned something today.

Naturally, the guys on the ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball" broadcast were quick to jump on how this injury was negatively affecting his production and how he's only 4th on the team in HRs and so on and so forth.  And naturally, they and everybody else complaining about that are idiots.  They're missing the big picture.  And what that big picture says is that A-Rod has been playing much better over the last couple weeks, since he suffered this supposed injury, and the Yankees have been winning games since then.

May was a rough month for A-Rod.  He hit just .286/.325/.403 in 119 ABs with just 6 XBH, 12 RBI, and a 6/29 BB/K ratio.  Not exactly Triple Crown-caliber numbers, in baseball or in horse racing.  Fast forward to this month.  So far in 57 June ABs, The Horse is sitting at .263/.382/.561 with 9 XBH, 12 RBI, and a 9/14 BB/K ratio.  The numbers suggest that he's seeing the ball better, being more selective at the plate, and driving the ball when he makes contact.  Sure, the batting average looks a little down, but 2 more hits in those 57 ABs puts him at .298, so I'm sure there's some bad BABIP luck in there somewhere.

The point is, whatever problems The Horse is having with his shoulder aren't very big ones.  I can't imagine he's been having trouble with it since the beginning of May when he started to struggle because we would have heard something long before last night.  It's a minor injury, it isn't affecting his performance, and regardless of what his HR rate is this year, he's still on pace to score 100+ runs, drive in 100+ runs, and crack the 30-HR mark again.  And if you check the WAR rankings for AL 3rd basemen, you'll find The Horse galloping up at the top of the list, a full W ahead of 2nd place Youkilis and Adrian Beltre.

He's not on the DL and he's producing during a month when the Yankees are 11-6 so far.  In short, he's winning.  Chill out about the home runs.  It's not like the team total is suffering without a few more from him.

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