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Series Preview: Alex Rodriguez’s Farewell

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New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu
Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Rays head to New York to take on the Yankees. Tonight’s game will receive a lot of attention as it was announced as Alex Rodriguez’s last in a Yankee uniform. After the game he will be released by the Yankees. Rodriguez has been a polarizing figure throughout much of his career, but he has put up some truly incredible numbers.

Matchups:

Friday: Chris Archer vs C.C. Sabathia

Saturday: Matt Andriese vs Masahiro Tanaka

Sunday: Jake Odorizzi vs TBA

Tanaka has remained healthy and leader of the Yankee rotation.

CC. Sabathia’s season could be split into two contrasting parts. From April 5th to June 16th he made seven starts where he allowed a 0.82 ERA and 2.93 FIP. But in the nine starts since June 16th he’s put up a 6.62 ERA and 5.81 FIP. He’s striking out very few hitters in this run, 14.3%, and walking an average amount, 8.2%.

Tomorrow’s start will be Masahiro Tanaka’s 24th start of the season which will tie his MLB career high. He’s remained healthy and put up very good results. He enters with a 3.32 ERA and 3.33 FIP. He’s striking batters out at the lowest rate of his career at 20.1%. He rarely issues walks as he’s posted a 4.5% walk rate. The big key to his season has been the avoiding homers as he’s posted a career low 10.7% homer run per fly ball rate after posting 14.0% and 16.7% rates in his first two seasons for the Yankees. Tanaka induces a 48.2% ground ball rate which has led to much of his success.

The Yankees haven’t announced a starter for Sunday’s game yet.

The Yankee bullpen is a lot less scary without Chapman and Miller.

Running up to the trade deadline the Yankees received some good prospects for Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. They still have Dellin Betances who is still one of the top five relievers in baseball, but since they don’t have three of the top five the game isn’t effectively cut down to six innings.

The Yankees bullpen is now pretty ordinary outside of Betances. Betances is really good. He’s struck out 45.2% of batters faced this year. His 7.8% walk rate is average. He’s allowed a 2.28 ERA, but has put up a 1.24 FIP. He’s pitched 55.1 innings this season. Just for comparison Erasmo Ramirez leads the league at 63.1 innings.

The Yankees really don’t have a go-to number two guy in the pen. Richard Bleier has been their best performer who has thrown at least ten innings as he’s put up a 3.38 ERA and 2.68 FIP over 13.1 innings.

The Yankees have cycled through a ton of arms in the bullpen trying to find answers. 22 pitchers have thrown out of the bullpen for the Yankees this season. The Rays have had 15 pitchers throw at some point this season plus the one inning from Taylor Motter.

The Yankees offense has been a major disappointment.

The Yankees shipped off their only significantly over-league-average hitter at the deadline when they sent Carlos Beltran (134 wRC+) to the Rangers. Only Didi Gregorius (104 wRC+) and Brett Gardner (101 wRC+). have more than 50 plate appearances and an above average offensive line.

Didi Gregorius has been really good as he’s put up a .286/.314/.457 and 104 wRC+. That’s a really good short stop bat. If it’s your best bat, however, you have a problem. It would be equivalent to having last year’s Steven Souza, Jr. (103 wRC+) as your number one offensive producer.

Alex Rodriguez has been a disaster at the plate. He’s put up a .199/.247/.348 and 55 wRC+ over 239 plate appearances at designated hitter this year. The Yankees really had no other choice but to cut ties with him; you could argue they should have been faster to pull the trigger with the Yankees staying around .500 for most of the season.

Mark Teixeira has had a similarly disappointing season that has led him to announce his retirement following the season. Teixeira has hit .197/.287/.334 and put up a 68 wRC+.

A Farewell to Alex Rodriguez.

Growing up as a huge As a huge Ken Griffey, Jr. fan growing up, I watched a lot of Mariners games and was therefore exposed to Rodriguez early in his career. What he was able to do out of the short stop position put him in a league of his own. The power and speed combination was truly something special. He tainted his legacy with the constant connection to PEDs over the last dozen years, but what he was able to do on the field was matched by almost no one.

Tonight’s game will be on your local Fox national station. It’s sure to be unbearable to watch for the Alex Rodriguez haters.

The Rays will look to get the pitching back on track against one of the worst offenses in the American League. Masahiro Tanaka is tough, but the Rays should have some chances to put some runs on the board the rest of the series.

Matt Duffy makes his Tampa Bay Rays debut tonight and will look to answer one of the major questions Rays fans have entering the off season. Duffy’s performance down the stretch both offensively and defensively is likely one of the biggest indicators of the Rays needs and what they can accomplish next season.