The first home run was satisfying, a waist high fastball punished over the fence in left center field. It was a poor pitch and Rodriguez teed off on the sucker. You could hear it through the TV; it just sounded great. And the Bombers had an early 3-0 lead. The second shot was impressive because the pitch looked inside and Rodriguez was able to just turn on it; this one went into the vistor’s bullpen. Really quick hands there, and it gave Pavano back the two runs he gave away via the walk in the top of the inning.
I got really anxious during Rodriguez’s third at bat. It was clear that Colon was just about done. How could you not be aware that Rodriguez had a chance to have a special night? Colon fell behind 2-0 and then Rodriguez took a huge cut on a fastball and got that Gary Sheffield/Fat Joe “Lean Back” on his follow-through. Another ball and then Colon reared back and gunned a fastball up around Rodriguez’s shoulders. It’s the toughest pitch for Rodriguez–and most righties, for that matter, to lay off; you can’t hit it, but it’s tough to resist. Swing and a miss, full count. Nuts, I thought. That was ball four. Then Rodriguez got a good swing on a fastball and fouled it off before he crushed the next pitch over the wall in straight-away center. Third dinger (and according to Jay Jaffe, who was at the game and later called in, during the commerical break Rodriguez took a second curtain call).
Hot Dog. Rich Lederer, 3,000 miles away, was listening to the game on the radio. He called me from his car phone and I gave him the recap. Rodriguez’s next at bat was impressive too, when he lined an 0-2 pitch into center field for an RBI single. Again, he took a page out of Sheff’s book, and didn’t try to do too much with the pitch, down 0-2. In his final at bat, Rodriguez roped a line drive to center. It was caught, but he hit it well. With one monster night, Rodriguez is now tied for the league lead in home runs and RBI (and oh, he’s second in the league in runs scored).
Terrific night for Rodriguez and the Yanks, as they roll over the Angels, 12-4. Andy Phillips started at first again, barely missed hitting a homer off a flat slider in his first time up, then later tanked a double into the deepest part of the ball park. And Colter Bean, he off the wide arse, and the frisbee sidearm breaking ball, pitched the final two innings.