I used to be one of those people that defended A-Rod for his playoff struggles. “Too small of a sample size,” I would say, in response to people who judged him too harshly for his October failures. Or “What about what he did in 2000 with the Mariners, or ’04 with the Yankees?” was another argument. And then of course, A-Rod put some of the talks to rest when he hit like a mad man in the ’09 playoffs, belting six home runs and knocking in 18 to lead the Yankees to a World Series title. But since then, he’s gone right back to being the A-Rod we love to rip.
Alex Rodriguez was arguably the biggest goat for the Yankees in their Game 5 ALDS series-ending loss to the Tigers 3-2 Thursday. Batting cleanup for the pinstripes, A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He left four men on. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, he punched out against Joaquin Benoit. That was probably the biggest opportunity the Yankees had to change the game.
And then of course, with his team one swing away from tying the game, A-Rod whiffed against Jose Valverde for the final out of the game. That last out made Rodriguez the first guy in history to strike out to end the season for a playoff team two years in a row. A pretty fitting honor for such a notorious choker, wouldn’t you say?
But going back to A-Rod’s postseason struggles, since his ’09 outburst, he’s now hitting .180 in the playoffs. He went 2-for-18 in the postseason this year with no extra-base hits.
Joe Girardi says he’s not disappointed in any of his guys, but he should be. The Yankees needed a hit out of A-Rod in the seventh and got a strikeout. Big-time players are supposed to come up with big-time plays in big-time situations. A-Rod struck out.
The Yankees are in a bad spot with Alex. He’s entering his year 37 season with six years and $143 million remaining on his contract. He’s production is worth maybe half that. If he heals over the offseason he can still be productive next year, but he’s far from the MVP-level that he was paid to be. It’s going to be a long six years for Yankees fans.
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