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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Alex Rodriguez criticizes Yankees for 1 big mistake

Alex Rodriguez with sunglasses on

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alex Rodriguez on the sidelines before Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, now an analyst for FOX Sports, is not on board with some decisions made by the Yankees this season. Specifically, Rodriguez is questioning the Yankees’ decision to bat Aaron Judge in the leadoff position.

Following the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Friday, A-Rod sounded off.

“This is gimmicky baseball. You can not let your best hitter hit first,” Rodriguez said. “It’s ridiculous that [Judge] is hitting lead off. It’s a mistake. I don’t know who’s doing it, Boone or Cashman, but somebody has to change that immediately.”

Rodriguez noted he wasn’t sure whether manager Aaron Boone or general manager Brian Cashman was responsible for the move. But the former Yankee likened matters to a game a chess, saying the idea is to protect your best hitter. Ideally, Judge would bat behind two of the team’s best hitters and in front of two of the team’s best hitters. With Judge batting leadoff, there is no protection for him after the first at-bat.

“It puts an enormous amount of pressure [on him],” Rodriguez added.

Even without the protection in front of him, Judge has fared well when batting first in the lineup. He’s hit .366/.481/.740 with 13 home runs and 25 RBI. When leading off an inning, the numbers are similar: .349/.440/.876 with 19 home runs and 20 RBI.

The thought process for the Yankees is to get their best hitter as many at-bats as possible. However, as A-Rod alludes, that decision has led to Judge stepping to the plate with fewer men on base. That is evident when comparing his home run totals to his RBI totals from the leadoff position.

With Judge currently mired in a slump, maybe it’s something the Yankees reconsider going into Game 3 of the ALDS.

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