• A-Rod’s 2010 ALCS Performance Is Questioned

    Posted by on October 22nd, 2010 · Comments (18)

    Via Mike Sielski of the WSJ

    Through the first five games of this series, the Texas Rangers have succeeded for the most part in stifling [Alex] Rodriguez, the Yankees third baseman. He has just three hits in 17 at-bats for a .176 batting average and hasn’t hit a home run.

    Mr. Rodriguez, who earlier this year became the youngest player to reach the 600-home run mark, was supposed to have buried the notion that he wilted amid the pressure of October baseball. He batted .365 with six home runs in 15 postseason games last year, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday that this season has been easier for Mr. Rodriguez because he hasn’t had to answer similar questions about his playoff performance.

    But whether it’s a matter of correlation or cause, this much is certain: When Mr. Rodriguez hasn’t hit, the Yankees haven’t won in the postseason. Over the previous four playoff series the Yankees lost—the championship series in 2004 and division series in ’05, ’06 and ’07—he batted .200 with three home runs.

    The Yankees will need more such production from Mr. Rodriguez if they’re to advance to the World Series again, though he might have overstated the importance of Game 6 and (if necessary) Saturday’s Game 7. After his clubhouse study session Thursday afternoon, he spoke briefly to reporters, telling them that “any time you play for your life, these [games] are life and death.”

    As I have written before in this blog -

    There’s no doubt in my mind that, without Alex Rodriguez swinging the bat the way he did during the post-season of 2009, there’s no way the Yankees would have achieved all the success that they did in the ALDS, ALCS and World Series.

    And, for sure, A-Rod this post-season does look more like the post-season A-Rod of 2005-07 than he does the one from last year. But, a big game with the stick tonight – and another one, hopefully, in Game 7 – will go a long way towards killing the question of his poor performance, so far, this ALCS. Let’s hope that happens.

    Comments on A-Rod’s 2010 ALCS Performance Is Questioned

    1. JeremyM
      October 22nd, 2010 | 8:36 am

      A-Rod hasn’t played his best or even close, but to me, he has looked better than he has from 2005-2007. He hasn’t been chasing to many bad pitches and so forth. That said, he needs to come alive in Texas- he typically hits very well down there but didn’t do so in the first two games overall.

      What kills me, and he’s hurt now obviously, but other than game 1 of the DS, Teixeira was doing absolutely nothing with the bat, again, and it skates through unnoticed by the media. I mean, other than losing his glove, I thought this team had a better shot with him going down, moving Cano up in the order, and putting anyone else in the lineup.

    2. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 9:49 am

      JeremyM wrote:

      What kills me, and he’s hurt now obviously, but other than game 1 of the DS, Teixeira was doing absolutely nothing with the bat, again, and it skates through unnoticed by the media.

      100% true. Teixeira has done next to nothing in the playoffs in 2009 or 2010 but no one questions if he’s a choker. Double standards abound in the media.

    3. October 22nd, 2010 | 10:01 am

      Most fans I talk too are not going easy on Tex. Almost all of them cite him as doing squat in the post-season and lament that they want him to start performing better, and fast. Have to think it’s just a matter of time before this extends to the MSM.

    4. October 22nd, 2010 | 10:05 am

      This all said, I do think it’s deflection on the part of A-Rod fans to bring up Tex here. It’s like the person who gets pulled over for speeding crying to the cop about all the other cars on the road. It doesn’t take away from the fact that they were speeding.

      Same thing here. A-Rod has sucked this ALCS. And, he sucked in the post-season in 2005-2007. Pointing at Tex doesn’t make this suckage by Alex any less sucky. He still has sucked, since 2005, sans 2009.

    5. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 10:06 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Most fans I talk too are not going easy on Tex. Almost all of them cite him as doing squat in the post-season and lament that they want him to start performing better, and fast. Have to think it’s just a matter of time before this extends to the MSM.

      Doubtful. MSM memes tend to rely on the old reliable themes, like a comfortable shoe. They tend to not break new ground and, frankly, since MSM loves nothing more than creating a controversy out of nothing, what incentive would they have to sit on a ready-made controversy such as “Tex sucks in playoffs again!”? When have you ever known a jackass like Wallace Matthews or Mike Lupica to not play cards right away?

    6. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 10:10 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      No one’s deflecting from A-Rod. He’s had a bad 2010 postseason. Pointing out that others have had bad playoffs too isn’t deflecting, it’s merely adding color to a picture so that no one mistakes one’s failure as being solely responsible for the overall fortunes of the team. The 2005 playoffs were unkind to Rodriguez, as they were unkind to Matsui, Sheffield, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina, for example. That clarifies the record without diminishing the reality of one’s individual failure.

      Nuance, Steve. Black-and-white in a gray world doesn’t work.

    7. throwstrikes
      October 22nd, 2010 | 1:30 pm

      “When have you ever known a jackass like Wallace Matthews or Mike Lupica to not play cards right away?”

      Wally Matthews was asked yesterday why the media didn’t mention Tex’s struggles and he said because Tex is a nice guy.

    8. October 22nd, 2010 | 2:16 pm

      @ throwstrikes: That doesn’t surprise me that Wally said that. The other thing is that no Yankee sells newspapers and generates web hits like A-Rod. It’s not even debatable; it’s a fact.

      As for the WSJ and today’s Lupica column, did any of these A-Rod bashers bother to watch Game 5? A-Rod had a ground-rule double, two walks, and got robbed of a hit by Michael Young. If anything, he showed hugh signs of coming out of the funk he’s been in. But it’s easier — and sells more papers — to write “A-Rod is unclutch again!” instead of having, say, written about Teixeira’s struggles before getting hurt.

    9. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 2:20 pm

      throwstrikes wrote:

      Wally Matthews was asked yesterday why the media didn’t mention Tex’s struggles and he said because Tex is a nice guy.

      That’s awesome. At least he backs his way into admitting he’s a hypocritical jackass.

      lisaswan wrote:

      no Yankee sells newspapers and generates web hits like A-Rod. It’s not even debatable; it’s a fact.

      Yep. As long as the media has a deadline to meet and column inches to fill, they’ll exhume the poor, deceased horse and beat it again and again.

    10. throwstrikes
      October 22nd, 2010 | 3:06 pm

      Here is the Twitter-log so people can see I’m not making it up. It was posted on LoHud yesterday

      @wallacematthews How come Teixeira is not getting criticized in the media here for his poor play? He has done nothing in the postseason.

      @BleacherNYC because Tex is perceived as a good guy and a gamer while A-Rod is not. Maybe not fair but reality

    11. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 3:23 pm

      @ throwstrikes:
      I wish I had seen that live when it was Tweeted. Wallace Matthews is a moron. No wonder ESPN hired him. They were one moron short, apparently.

    12. Evan3457
      October 22nd, 2010 | 3:42 pm

      A-Rod hasn’t been nearly as bad this postseason as he was from game 4, 2004 to 2007.

      His stats are bad, that’s true. However, he’s hit at least one or two balls hard in just about every game, including the Cliff Lee game. After Jeter’s leadoff drive to right in the 1st, the only ball that was hit hard the rest of the game was A-Rod’s drive to left center with 2 outs and Tex on first after a 2 out BB. Cruz was positioned well and made a good catch, but when he hit it, I thought it was an RBI double.

      We KNOW he was games (plural) in 2004,5, 6, 7 without hitting a single ball hard. In the series with the Twins he did OK. Nothing great, but Ok. In this series, he has the two-run single in game 1, the hard shot of Lee in game 3, the hard smash that Young caught on a line, the hard grounder that Young caught, and the double in game 5.

      His K/BB is 5/4 in 28 Ab so far; in 2005, 6, 7 it was 15/8 in 44 AB.

      He hasn’t been good, but he hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as 2005-6-7.

    13. October 22nd, 2010 | 3:43 pm

      I’m amazed at why anyone would find this shocking.

      You have two employees. They both suck at their job.

      One is a really nice guy and never causes any headaches with drama, etc. The other guy has a bit of a superior attitude and always seems to have a story or has a habit for bringing unwanted attention to himself or the company.

      You need to reduce your staff by one person.

      Which person do you think is getting “the prize” (pink slip) here?

      Same deal with the media focusing on A-Rod and not Tex. It’s just human nature.

    14. throwstrikes
      October 22nd, 2010 | 4:00 pm

      I’m giving the pink slip to the guy who produced the least.

      Plays well with others stopped being a criteria in kindergarten and Miss Congeniality is a Miss America award not an MLB award.

    15. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 4:15 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      One is a really nice guy and never causes any headaches with drama, etc. The other guy has a bit of a superior attitude and always seems to have a story or has a habit for bringing unwanted attention to himself or the company.

      All a matter of perception. But since subjectivity isn’t part of the beat writer’s job description, that’s where I have a problem with Matthews’s comments. Do your job. Report facts. Stick to what you know and what you can prove. If you can’t do that, get the fuck out of the way and let smarter, more honest, intelligent and even-handed people do the job. In far too many cases, the beat writers in New York aren’t able to internalize and abide by this directive.

    16. MJ Recanati
      October 22nd, 2010 | 4:42 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      As a follow-up, your analogy doesn’t work because there isn’t an issue of keeping only one of two underperforming players. This is a reporting issue. As such, a reporter must report all of the facts and details, not just the ones that satisfy his or her own personal, subjective agenda.

      Wallace Matthews is entitled to dislike Alex Rodriguez and he’s entitled to think that Mark Teixeira is personable. He is not entitled, however, to whitewash facts or play up one aspect of a story over another simply because of his personal feelings.

    17. October 22nd, 2010 | 5:06 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: Besides, what do we constantly hear from reporters? How there’s no cheering in the pressbox. How they only root for a good story. How they don’t take sides, etc., etc. But when they do take sides, because of personal reasons, we’re supposed to think it’s cool, because hey, A-Rod deserves it? Please.

      And I also still don’t know why A-Rod haters won’t admit that his face on the back page moves more copies than anybody other Yankee’s face on the back page, and gets more clicks than anybody else. That is also part of the reason why reporters write about him so much.

    18. October 22nd, 2010 | 5:09 pm

      @ throwstrikes:
      Thanks for the exact quote from Matthews. What’s telling is the word “perceived.” The media told us for years that Roger Clemens, Brett Favre, and Tiger Woods were great family men, even though they had to know the truth. But they were “perceived” in a certain way, and the media all stayed in line like good little sheep.

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