Alex Rodriguez should not be alone on the New York Yankees bench this postseason. Save room for Robinson Cano who is batting .063 (2-for-32). Curtis Granderson: .115 (3-for-26) with 14 strikeouts. Russell Martin is hitting .192. Nick Swisher is 4-for-26, or .154, this postseason. Those ugly numbers, combined with Derek Jeter’s broken ankle, have the Yankees in a 2-0 hole in the American League Championship Series and headed for Game 3 in Detroit against Justin Verlander.
Good luck with that.
Despite the teamwide slump and the Captain’s injury, the focus is on Rodriguez, who started going cold in September. He hit .205 (8-for-39) with one RBI over the final 10 games of the regular season. Home runs: zero. Extra base hits: zero. In the ALDS he batted .125 (2-for-16) including nine strikeouts. In the first two games of the ALCS Rodriguez is batting .143 (1-for-7) and has whiffed three times. Rodriguez is batting .130 (3-for-23) with 12 strikeouts in the postseason.
These are not the numbers the Yankees expected when the traded for Rodriguez eighy years ago. He batted .352 over five post-season appearances with the Seattle Mariners. In 14 post-season series between 2004-2012, Rodriguez batted over .400 twice, over .300 once, over .200 four times and under .200 five times.
After Rodriguez struck out twice in the Yankees’ Game 4 loss Thursday, ESPN and Elias Sports added this infamous stat: Rodriguez has now K’d multiple times in each of the first four games of the ALDS series. Only two other players in MLB history have registered at least two strikeouts in each of the first four games of a postseason series: the Mets’ Darryl Strawberry in the 1986 LCS against Houston (he did it in all six games) and Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees.
Is it fair to measure Rodriguez solely against his postseason numbers? You tell me. Isn’t October — and November — the season when past New York Yankees have earned their pinstripes? Don Larsen, Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, Jim Leyritz and, most recently, Raul Ibanez earned their Yankee pinstripes with a single swing or a perfect game in October. Then again, none of the above, were expected to deliver in October — they just did.
The case against Rodriguez runs much deeper. His $29 million annual salary comes with a certain level of expectation (see Reggie Jackson) and accountability (see Derek Jeter). Instead of using those broad shoulders and massive talent to carry his team, Rodriguez is the most expensive pinch-hitter in the history of the game.
When you earn more than half of your team’s roster combined, you are expected to be accountable. Whenever Rodriguez has failed he has passed the buck on to “the team.” He owes it to “the team” to face the media. After the ALDS clincher against the Baltimore Orioles New York Daily News sportswriter John Harper added: It was telling that A-Rod chose not to speak with reporters after the game, ducking into the off-limits area of the clubhouse after the Yankees’ champagne celebration and leaving it to the club’s PR people to say he had gone home.
“I’m not happy, and obviously I am disappointed,” Rodriguez told the media last week. “You want to be in there in the worst way. But … don’t assume you’ve heard the last from us, or me.”
Big words and so little production.