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Alex Rodriguez can't seem to take the heat

Alex Rodriguez, seen after striking out earlier this week in Toronto, is in one of the worst slumps of his career. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

It has been a rough start for New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, but Saturday afternoon he might have hit the very bottom of his 2016 skid.

Rodriguez entered the season within striking distance of Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list but so far is 3-for-30 with one home run and 11 strikeouts through eight games, including going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against his former team the Seattle Mariners.

Rodriguez had only one game all last season in which he had an 0-for with at least five at-bats and three strikeouts (an 0-for-6 with four whiffs against the Tampa Bay Rays in April)

Rodriguez is 0-for-19 since homering against Mike Pelfrey in his first at-bat against the Detroit Tigers on April 9. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that he's two at-bats shy of his worst hitless stretch. He went 0-for-21 in June 2002 and July/August 2007.

He has had four straight games with no hits and at least three at-bats, his longest such streak since a four-gamer in April 2010. His longest stretch of that type is five straight games in late June/early July 2010.

What's ailing A-Rod?

When you're 3-for-30, it's easy to point to the numbers, because there's something wrong everywhere. One of the biggest performance differences for Rodriguez from 2015 to 2016 is that he's not hitting the heat, even when pitchers come right at him with it.

Rodriguez has missed on 16 of the 81 fastballs he has seen this season (about a 20 percent rate). That 20 percent is almost double his swinging strike rate from 2015. As the chart on the right notes, pitchers have thrown Rodriguez fastballs in the strike zone more often, he has swung at them more often (for good reason, he slugged .579 against the pitch in 2015), but he has done little with them (three hits, 18 outs).

If you want to look for some sort of silver lining, it's still very, very early and Rodriguez has four balls classified as hard-hit by video review. His hard-hit rate (13 percent) is the same as it was last season.

You can also take heart in knowing that it took Rodriguez about eight games to really warm up last season. He hit .240 through those first eight, but his ninth and 10th games (against the Orioles and Rays) in 2015, he went 5-for-7 with three home runs.

But the scary thing, as Andrew Marchand pointed out a few days ago, is that since last Aug. 1, he's hitting a meager .178.