Found October 12, 2012 on
New York Yankees
It looks desperate. It's not.
Joe Girardi's decision to bench Alex Rodriguez for the winner-take-all Game 5 of the American League Division Series is a matter of common sense.
Based on the way he's been swinging -- long before this series began -- A-Rod is not the New York Yankees' best option to start against right-handed pitching.
Raul Ibanez is the better designated hitter. Eric Chavez is the better third baseman. Girardi's lineup for Friday's decisive game against Baltimore accurately reflects those realities.
A-Rod is not solely to blame for the Yankees' current predicament, needing a win Friday to extend their season. He is hitting .125 in this series -- but that is better than both Robinson Cano (.111) and Curtis Granderson (.063). Granderson has struck out just as often as A-Rod, a team-high nine times in four games.
This decision has everything to do with A-Rod's at-bats against right-handers in this series, which have been consistently poor. Rodriguez has only two hits, both against lefties. He has been overmatched by fastballs of 92 mph or more -- and even lower, in the case of side-armer Darren O'Day. With his tentative at-bats late in Game 4, Rodriguez offered little hope that he would fare differently against Baltimore righty Jason Hammel Friday evening.
After Ibanez famously pinch-hit for Rodriguez in Game 3, A-Rod promised he'd swing aggressively in Game 4. That never happened.
Girardi said at a Friday news conference that A-Rod will be available to hit against a left-handed reliever (Troy Patton or Brian Matusz) late in the game. Frankly, a platoon role suits the 37-year-old at this point in his career. He had a .924 OPS against lefties during the regular season, but only .717 when facing right-handers.
There is the matter of A-Rod's ego, as it relates to his future with the team. That is a valid concern. He does, after all, have five years and $118 million left on his guarantee, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. (How much money is that? Well, it's about what Josh Hamilton -- baseball's top position-player free agent -- may get this winter.)
Girardi and Rodriguez insisted in the giddy Game 3 aftermath that the pinch-hit decision would not affect their relationship. "I love Joe," A-Rod said then. This decision, however warranted, could jeopardize that goodwill -- particularly if the Yankees lose.
But Girardi can't worry about A-Rod's feelings now. He needs to win a game. Clearly, Girardi is aware that A-Rod's production has declined for five straight years. It's time for Rodriguez to accept the same reality about himself.
It's awkward. It's humbling. It's uncomfortable. These things always are.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Donald has never been shy about sharing his opinions, even when no one wants to hear them, and now he thinks he knows more about putting together a lineup than Joe Girardi.
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Alex Rodriguez will not be be in the lineup for tonight’s series finale between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.Rodriguez, who has come under fire for his poor postseason performance will have to watch the game from the dugout. Eric Chavez is set to play third base in replacement.
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The Yankees may be forced to make lineup changes for today's deciding game five against the Orioles in the elimination game.
They may take Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson out of the starting lineup and replace with Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez.
A-Rod and Granderson have been terrible in this entire series going 3 for 30 combined versus Orioles pitching.