When Alex Rodriguez steps into the box in his final MLB game tonight, he will be squaring off against Rays ace, Chris Archer. A-Rod has 15 career at-bats against Archer. He’s 2-for-15 (.133 BA) with 5 strikeouts, but both hits were home runs.
Let’s put ourselves in A-Rod’s shoes heading into tonight’s game. If he were looking at every pitch that Archer has thrown him in the past, here’s what he’d see:
legend: red = fastball; black = off-speed; + = well-hit
A-Rod will have to look for only 2 pitches: fastball and slider, but Archer has pitched him pretty tough. You’ll notice there aren’t too many pitches in the middle of the plate in these images. A lot of hard-in, soft away. The 5 strikeouts have mostly been sliders away. And, every AB that has lasted more than 2 pitches has gone in Archer’s favor.
The last time they faced each other, Rodriguez saw a total of 7 pitches from Archer in three AB’s — all fastballs. The last one he saw was crushed for a 2-run homer. If he’s going to do something magical against Tampa’s starter in the final game of his career, chances are that it would come on a pitch that catches too much of the plate, and probably early in the count.
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