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A-Rod’s Anticlimactic Home-Run Chase

It feels a bit strange, watching Alex Rodriguez's "countdown" toward his 600th homer. He's not having a particularly great season; he has only fourteen fifteen homers and the lowest slugging percentage since he was 19 years old in 1995. In fact, remember that famous Nate Silver ESPN column in which he projected A-Rod was unlikely to catch up with Barry Bonds? That column took much heat for dramatically overstating how deep A-Rod's homer falloff would be. Well, look at Silver's projections for the next six years: 30 (2010), 27 (2011), 25 (2012), 18 (2013), 16 (2014), 12 (2015), 8 (2016), 4 (2017), 3 (2018). So far, he's not even on pace to reach Silver's projected 2010 total; the decline has happened quicker than anybody thought. Which is a little disturbing considering A-Rod's making more than $200 million over the rest of his contract.

Regardless! Let's not think about that now. A-Rod's just two homers away from becoming the seventh man in baseball history to reach 600 homers, and even though there's something so Six Years Ago about home-run milestones, it still means something. So where's he gonna get it? The Yankees have six games left on their home stand, three against Anaheim and three against Kansas City: Hitting 600 in front of the home crowd would require an increase in his home-run rate, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

If he can't fit it in over the next week, the Yankees travel to Cleveland and Tampa, which will be less fun but sort of fitting. It seems like 600 should have happened by now. A career that has been marked by fanfare, both good and very, very bad, reaches a major milestone at a point when most think of it as no big deal ... if they think of it at all.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images