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?