What was once highly anticipated is now developing into somewhat of an annoyance as we reach Day 12 of the Alex Rodriguez home run watch.
A-Rod’s recent quest for number 600 has been kind of like having relatives from out of state come to town. At first you are excited for the visit but once they overstay their welcome you just want it over with so you can get back to your normal lifestyle.
The Yankees want to concentrate on the Rays and Red Sox; the media wants the 600 milestone circus out of the way; the fans want to stop rearranging their schedules in order to be in front of the television for every A-Rod at-bat; the umpires want to stop worrying about special baseballs; and yet it’s likely that none of them want it over with more so than A-Rod, who is mired in a 9-for-43 slump since hitting number 599.
He will get his chance tonight against 25-year-old righthander Rickey Romero (8-7, 3.46 ERA) as the Yankees look to avoid losing their third straight game, something they haven’t done since June 18. Romero suffered his worst outing of the season in his last start against the Yankees on July 3, allowing eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. Although Romero has won two of his last three starts and gone at least seven innings in each, both wins came against the lowly Orioles. As for A-Rod’s numbers off Romero: 4-for-13 with two RBIs and three strikeouts.
The Yankees will counter with Dustin Moseley (1-0, 3.24 ERA), making his second start in place of Andy Pettitte. The righthander pitched six strong innings against the Indians last week, allowing one run with four strikeouts. Tonight’s test will be more difficult as he faces a team that leads the league in home runs with 163.