The Yankees and Rays are two teams that wouldn't surprise anyone if they were both playing October baseball in 2010. Both squads have great offenses and a lot of their success is reliant upon the play of their third basemen. Evan Longoria and Alex Rodriguez are not only two of the best hitters in the game, but they also rank among the best all-around players in baseball. Everyone who watches A-Rod on a daily basis knows what an amazing talent he really is. New Yorkers don't get to see Longoria all of the time, and while everyone knows how good he is, it is still amazing that this 24 year-old is still a couple of seasons away from entering his "prime."
Entering just his third season, Longoria already has participated in two All-Star games, won the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2009 AL Gold Glove at third base. Longoria was a popular preseason choice for the 2010 AL MVP by many of the national sportswriters and for good reason. Through the first 282 games of his career, Longoria has a .279 batting average, 62 home runs, 206 RBIs, 169 runs scored, a .355 on-base percentage and an OPS of .889. Through the same number of games to start his career (282), A-Rod had a very impressive .322 batting average, with 53 home runs, 186 RBIs, 219 runs scored, a .373 on-base percentage and an OPS of .924. Both A-Rod and Longoria have proven to be two of the best defensive third basemen in the game as well.
Longoria has played in 41 career games in March and April combined and is a fast starter. He has a .338 batting average, with 11 home runs, 39 RBIs, and a .407 on-base percentage. The Yankees have also fallen victim to Longoria's bat. In 28 career games against the Bombers, he has a .283 average, with eight home runs, 19 RBIs, .371 on-base percentage and an OPS of .958.
The rivalry of the Yankees and Rays may be in its infant stages with the ascension of the Rays as a contender in 2008, but one thing is for sure: it's going to be interesting to watch this third base matchup of Alex Rodriguez and Evan Longoria for many years to come. These two players really bring to life the term, "Clash of the Titans."