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.