Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/18/12
One by one, the Yankees headed toward the bench. At different times in the playoffs, New York manager Joe Girardi has pulled Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher to ride the pine. But Rodriguez took most of the heat, publicly, after getting benched on three occasions. His woes overshadowed the real surprise of the postseason -- Robinson Cano's inability to hit anything. After nine playoff games, the Yankees second baseman finished with a .075 batting average and .098 OBP. With a minimum of 35 playoff at-bats, Cano's OBP is the lowest in a single postseason and average is the fourth lowest in playoff history. It's certainly an unprecedented slump for one of the game's shining starts. Cano's horrendous postseason performance is even worse, considering this was his time to shine. As Rodriguez and Derek Jeter age, Cano was supposed to step up and become the torchbearer for the future. He's the cleanup hitter of the future for the Yankees. He's the one in his prime. He's the one eyeing a long-term contract in roughly two years. During the regular season, Cano showed that potential to carry the offense. In 161 games, he walloped 33 home runs and 94 RBIs while hitting .313 to pad together another All-Star campaign. Girardi, of course, never benched Cano. They had no back up option at second base -- especially with Jeter out -- and the second baseman capped his forgettable postseason with a 3-for-36 effort. As a result of his struggles, it's unfair to pinpoint Rodriguez as the lone culprit for the Yankees' freefall. Since he was paid $29 million this year, the 37-year-old is certainly open for criticism. But he wasn't the only one that faltered. Mark Teixeira, Granderson and Swisher -- who struggled offensively and defensively in the playoffs -- all failed to threaten Detroit's pitching staff. As the losses piled up, the spotlight shifted on Rodriguez. At the end of the day, it's Cano who deserves some major blame as well.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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