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Alex Rodriguez and the road to Willie Mays - no. 656

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

He did it again. Alex Rodriguez currently leads the Yankees in RBI and is one of the best hitters the Yankees have right now. He also hit his second home run of the season, and 656th overall, on Wednesday night and now has moved to just four away from tying Willie Mays. We looked at his last dinger, so let's take a look at this one as well:

At this point in the game, the Yankees already had a one-run lead off Bud Norris (A-Rod only hits home runs off people with the last name Norris) in the fourth inning, but Alex Rodriguez made sure to add to it with this monster of a home run to left field. Nathan Eovaldi was having a strong night on the mound, so it seemed that maybe the Yankees were in control at this point. At least before the bullpen gave up the lead and the game.

If you saw my article on Brian McCann's 200th homer, you'd know how A-Rod's dinger is a welcome sight.

As of right now the Yankees are mostly shooting dingers just over the wall. It will be interesting to see how long this trend continues before someone just hits an absolute bomb.

Rodriguez finally gave us something to gasp at when his Thursday-night home run measured a true distance of 433 feet and traveled over an entire section of seating:

Traveling at 109.4 mph off the bat, it proved to be the Yankees' fastest home run of the year and it left us in awe:

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Just like his last home run, A-Rod gets a belt-high fast ball right down the middle of the plate and destroys it. Norris appears to miss his spot with a 92-mph four seamer that was supposed to be low and away and then he pays the price. He might be 39 years old at this point, but don't throw A-Rod a high fastball over the plate. Just don't do it.

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As we saw the other day, Alex Rodriguez thrives on pitches that are high and over the plate. He has a .380 batting average and .861 slugging percentage against the four-seam fastball in that quadrant of the zone. Basically, don't miss your spot like this or you'll end up like Bud Norris.

As far as this game is concerned, the home run ended up being pretty meaningless when the Orioles took the game 7–5, but it does mean something in the grand scheme of A-Rod's career and the history of baseball. With home run no. 656, he now moves to within four more dingers of tying Willie Mays with 660 overall and reaching the first of his milestone bonuses. While the Yankees are finally acknowledging his existence (remember when they completely ignored his home run in spring training?), they are not mentioning any historic numbers or the $6 million they will owe him if he hits four more:

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They seem to be completely ignoring the history in hopes that people will forget about that whole milestone bonus thing and it will just go away. Another interesting piece of history is that with his 565th home run, Alex Rodriguez tied Derek Jeter on the all-time runs scored list with 1923. He needs to score 26 more times in order to tie Stan Musial at no. 8 on the list.

The countdown will continue as we march toward 660, history, and more financial drama. Hopefully he'll reach the milestone soon so we can get all this out of the way and see what happens. Then maybe we can move on with the rest of the season. Then again, A-Rod's also rapidly approach 3,000 hits, so probably not.