A-Rod, Brew Crew start fast

first_imgNever did I think I would be writing a positive column about anything related to the New York Yankees. Then again, never has a player had an opening month of the baseball season as amazing as the one Alex Rodriguez is working on right now. Through only 17 games, Rodriguez already has 14 home runs — twice as many as any other player in the league — 32 RBIs and a league-leading .400 batting average. That’s no A-Fraud. That’s A-Rodiculous. If A-Rod can keep this type of hitting up for even another two or three weeks, he could put himself in a position where only a horrendous slump could get between him and a legitimate shot at a triple-crown season.As for that whole thing about him failing in the clutch, Rodriguez has hit two walk-off home runs this season — a grand slam and a three-run bomb — both of which turned the Bronx into a bona fide zoo.To put his start in some prospective, coming into the season, the previous high for home runs in the month of April was 14. With his two home runs Monday night, Rodriguez matched that with a week’s worth of games still to play. He will likely smash the April homer mark and could realistically challenge the American League record for home runs in any month (18 by Detroit Tiger Rudy York in August 1937). At this point, it is almost a surprise when Rodriguez doesn’t homer in a game. Looking only at numbers, with the way his career has gone, it might not matter how many home ‘roids — sorry, runs — Barry Bonds hits; A-Rod will likely pass him by easily and go down as the best home-run hitter of all time. And you can’t talk about fast starts this season without talking about the Brewers.As I wrote before the season began, I was cautiously optimistic that the Brewers had a chance to make noise in the National League Central division. Well, now three weeks into the season, I am convinced this team can win the division. Heading into Tuesday’s action, the Brewers held the largest lead over their second-place competition of any division-leading team in the league, not that standings especially matter less than one-sixth of the way through the season. Still, though, something about the 2007 Brewers just seems different from years before. Maybe the biggest difference is an overall upgrade in talent. Instead of backup outfielders like Trent Durrington and Chris Magruder — great players if you are looking for .200 hitters with no upside, not so great if you are trying to actually field a big-league caliber team — the Brewers now have six outfielders who all could start on other teams in the league. Any position player on the roster is capable of playing and contributing at any time, which really comes in handy in a long, extra-innings game like Monday night’s against the Cubs. Speaking of Monday’s game, at the end of the season, that could go down as one of the biggest games of the year. Coming back on the road against a budding division rival in the Cubs and holding on through extra innings to keep a modest winning streak alive could really prove to be important later in the season. Ned Yost managed one of the best games of his career, highlighted by his seemingly bizarre decision to pitch to one of the most dangerous hitters in the National League, Alfonso Soriano, in extra innings with one out, a runner on second, first base open and a pitcher on deck waiting to pinch hit. Somehow it worked to perfection, as Soriano popped out and pitcher Carlos Villanueva struck out the pinch-hitting Jason Marquis. The biggest moment of that game was not Jenkins’ diving Superman catch, but rather when Yost went out and gave Villanueva the “If you don’t start throwing strikes, you are going to be down in the minors before you realize what happened” pep talk in the eighth inning. All what’s missing now from the Brewers season is a good, old-fashioned brawl, hopefully with the Cubs. All the makings are there for a great Brewers-Cubs rivalry: location, shared history of poor play and fan bases that genuinely don’t like each other. Right now it seems like the rivalry is more among the fans than on the field. A good Herald-Cardinal-style brawl would really fire up both teams and escalate the rivalry to one of the most heated in baseball.But if not for the brawl, I guess I can settle for winning the first two games of the series.Ben is a sophomore majoring in political science. Think you can argue Cubs-Brewers better than the 15-year-old he laid the smack down on earlier this season at Miller Park? Contact him at [email protected]last_img

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