Alex Rodriguez is having one of the worst postseasons of his career, but no one seems to have noticed. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Yankees’ superstar third baseman can surely see the irony in that statement. Not too long ago, a similar performance would have been blown ridiculously out of proportion, usually to the point of obscuring the facts, but now Arod’s struggles in October have mostly flown under the radar. What a difference a year makes.
Just how bad has Arod been? His .580 and .569 OPS in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively, are both the lowest rates he has posted in any October series with the exception of the 2006 ALDS. What’s more, in 34 total plate appearances over both series, he has had one extra base hit and only three RBIs. Of course, in the ALCS, Arod’s struggles have pretty much been in line with everyone else in the lineup aside from Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, who has been doing his best 2009 Rodriguez impression.
The point in highlighting Arod’s struggles is not to make him a scapegoat again. He has already suffered enough unfair criticism to last the rest of his career. It also isn’t necessary to point out how perceptions can be easily changed. Arod’s epic 2009 postseason is legend by now, so the fact that it has provided him cover this October really isn’t a revelation. Instead, the most notable thing about Arod’s lack of production is the Yankees are still playing postseason baseball in spite of it.
There are many reasons why the Yankees still have a good chance to pull off an ALCS comeback, but none is more compelling than the ticking time bomb that is Arod’s potent bat. In game five, Rodriquez showed signs of awakening by ripping a double deep into the left-center gap and lining out to third base for his only out. Perhaps even more important, however, were his two walks. Over the past few years, Arod’s improved pitch recognition has made him a much more disciplined and dangerous hitter in clutch situations. As a result, when Arod walks, it’s usually a sign of good things to come. The Yankees’ can only hope that the numbers listed below stay true to form.
Arod’s Production Following Multiple Walk Games
If Arod can carry his patient approach into game six, it could be bad news for Colby Lewis, and, if the Yankees advance to game seven, serve as the countermeasure needed to finally beat Cliff Lee. Although the story of ALCS hasn’t revolved around Arod, any chance for a return trip to the World Series very well could. In the past, making October headlines was never a good thing for Rodriguez, but now the Yankees are counting on it.
Arod’s Postseason Performance, Ranked by Series OPS