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So, will Alex Rodriguez hit third again on Thursday?

Oct 10, 2012, 11:46 PM EDT

Yankees' Jeter and Rodriguez celebrate a solo home run by teammate Ibanez against the Baltimore Orioles during Game 3 of their MLB ALDS baseball playoff series in New York Reuters

Because it certainly worked out tonight.

After going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Miguel Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez was pulled from Wednesday’s game in the ninth. As you’ve probably heard, Raul Ibanez hit a game-tying homer in his place and then delivered the game-winner three innings later, giving the Yankees a 2-1 ALDS lead over the Orioles.

Of course, Rodriguez wasn’t the only Yankee to struggles versus Gonzalez tonight. He was just the most expensive. Gonzalez allowed only five hits in his seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none.

Rodriguez, though, looked bad enough that manager Joe Girardi made the decision to pull him in the ninth. And that it worked out so well should let Girardi off the hook for the poor choice to hit Rodriguez third in the first place.

Now Girardi has to make the decision all over again. That Rodriguez will start Thursday seems inevitable. But the Orioles have yet to announce who they’re going to throw in Game 4. If it’s left-hander Joe Saunders, then keeping A-Rod in the third spot makes plenty of sense. He hit lefties well all year, and he’s 7-for-16 with two homers lifetime off Saunders. If it’s right-hander Chris Tillman instead, then there’s really no way Rodriguez should hit third. It should be Mark Teixeira‘s spot, with A-Rod probably hitting sixth.

That Rodriguez did hit third tonight was probably less about Girardi saving face by standing by his original decision and more about trying to instill some confidence in his former MVP. But that can’t be the rationalization any longer. A-Rod isn’t going to sulk if he’s dropped in the order. Judging by his reaction to Ibanez’s first homer tonight, Rodriguez is truly thinking team first. And he has to know as well as anyone that he’s not performing like a No. 3 hitter right now.

  1. bigharold - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    To paraphrase another noted poster, .. “Leave A-Rod Alone”.

    The Yankees struggled when he wasn’t in the line up during August. He had a poor night but he wasn’t the only guy that looked bad against Gonzalez. He is still a presence in the line up that aides all those that are around him.

    So, .. Leave A-Rod Alone!

    • pjmarn6 - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:37 AM

      It’s time for Girardi to earn his money as manager and drop Rodriquez. If Girardi wants to play pattycake with this loser and be his psychologist, do it after the games are over. At .083 batting average and can’t find the ball with a microscope, its time to put the best nine men on the field. Give Rodriquez two hours a day of extra batting practice and once in a while put him in as a pinch hitter.
      At $30,000,000 he is getting about $60,000 an at bat and producing worse than nothing.

    • paperlions - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:52 AM

      First, no. His presence in the lineup doesn’t help anyone else. That wouldn’t be true if ARod was still good, and it certainly is not true now that he sucks.

      Second, he hasn’t had just one bad night. He’s been horrible since he came back from injury. Hitting with no power and striking out once/game, showing no ability to catch up to a decent FB.

    • mdisptch11 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      He’s had poor nights since 2009 (and before.) Yesterday wasn’t an aberration, it is the norm.

  2. daviddmsvcp - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    I will leave A-Rod alone, right after I remind you that he is batting .083 for the series.

  3. jxegh - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Should A-Rod hit 3rd? Heck, he shouldn’t be in the lineup!

  4. Tim's Neighbor - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Will Puoliot write another subpar and baiting headline void of humor? Probably.

  5. vincentbojackson - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    A good night’s sleep and an early morning spray tanning session should get A-Rod back on track.

  6. illadelphiasphinest - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Ummmmm NO!!!! 6th maybe if he’s even in the lineup. The guy is terrible in the postseason his postseason stat line doesn’t lie.

    • Alex K - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      You think .268/.376/.479 with 13 HR in 312 PA is terrible? It’s not amazing, but it’s far from terrible.

      Jeter is .310/.375/.469 with 20 HR in 718 PA. And he is hailed as this great post season player.

      If A-Rod had gone to the postseason every year in his prime his postseason numbers would be much better, too.

      • mdisptch11 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        So when was his prime? He is 37 and has been in the playoffs every year with the exception of one since 2004. Take out 2009 and what do you have? The comparison to Jeter makes no sense.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        So we shouldn’t count the year when he pretty much single-handedly led the offense to a world series win? Sure, that makes sense.

      • mdisptch11 - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM

        Ok, let’s count the last 10 postseason series for both (including the season when A-Rod was the only one playing for the Yankees):

        A-Rod: .226 BA
        Jeter: .330 BA

        Again the comparison does not make any sense.

      • Alex K - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        The numbers aren’t all that different when looked at as a whole. We can’t pick an choose which series to use. The comparison makes total sense. One guy is hailed as a super duper clutch guy and the other is called terrible in the postseason. The numbers don’t back up the narrative.

        His prime? I’m not exactly sure of the start and end dates, but it sure as hell isn’t from 2004-2012 (his 28-36 year old seasons). He had his best seasons between 1996-2007 so if I had to choose a range it would be there. He didn’t play in the playoffs for 6 of those years.

      • mdisptch11 - Oct 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        You make it seem like I’m choosing the series that would benefit Jeter. Don’t forget that they are about the same age. So I’m comparing apples to apples. They both played in the series I am referencing.

      • Alex K - Oct 12, 2012 at 7:45 AM

        You can’t look at just part of the numbers, though. The only way to get a full look at their postseason careers is to look at everything. The sample size is tiny for A-Rod, anyway (with most of it in his decline). It’s not, however, crazy to compare their postseason careers when talking about the totally different narratives attached to them.

        Jeter has aged better than A-Rod, that is undeniable. Jeter hasn’t had nearly the injuries. I would guess that if A-Rod had gone to the playoffs almost every year of his career his postseason numbers would look a lot like his regular season numbers.

    • paperlions - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      One of these is Jeter in the post-season and one is ARod. They must both be terrible?


  7. pisano - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    The bigger question is what the hell are they going to do with this guy for the next five years. Lets face it with his production drop off, he’s basically a singles hitter, with a double every once and a while. His HR days are few and far between.

  8. ericellers - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    @bighearald, no he wasn’t the only Yankee to struggle against Gonzalez but he was the most lost at the plate. He needs to be moved down the line.

    • RickyB - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      I would argue that Granderson is even more lost at the plate. I’m more shocked when he fouls a ball off than A-Rod. Three pitches and he’s done, and even when he got a 2-0 count last night, he took two pitches down the middle then swung at a pitch well out of the zone.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Who needs to be moved up? Who has been performing so well that they can no longer be kept down? With a lefty on the mound tonight I would not count on Ibanez or Chavez being in the starting lineup. Do you want to see Eduardo Nunez at 3B?

  9. foxburgh - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Bite the bullet, buy Arod out regardless of cost, and send him into the sunset! No way he will earn his keep, in the next 5 years, hasn’t earned it in his last five years. He should ashamed of even accepting a paycheck, he turned out to be just another jock!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      Why? What would be gained?

      • pjmarn6 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        His position could be filled with a hitter who hits 200 points higher.

      • daviddmsvcp - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        For A-Rod’s salaray, his position could be filled with three players who hit 200 points higher.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        2 singles would add 200 points. Lets have a little perspective.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM

        david, you can’t dump the salary. If we didn’t know what he was making, how much would we complain about his production?

      • mdisptch11 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        You can look at it this way. If he wasn’t making what he is making, he would have been benched before this.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        mdisptch11 – Martin wasn’t benched this season when he was batting in the 180s in August. ARod certainly has a better track record than Russel Martin. Jeter wasn’t benched in 2011 and that worked out OK. It is 12 AB, people.

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Yes, ARod has looked bad this postseason. He is 1 for 12 with 7Ks and one walk. But who is the shining knight everyone envisions stepping up and going all Babe Ruth?

    Granderson: 1 for 11 with 6Ks and 1BB
    Cano: 2 for 12 with 1K and 1BB
    Swisher is 2 for 10 with 3Ks and 2BB
    Ichiro is 3 for 15 with 2Ks and 0BBs
    Chavez, ARod’s likely replacement if Girardi were to make a move, went 0-4 with 2Ks last night. With a lefty on the mound tonight I wouldn’t count on him or Ibanez starting the game.

    Russel Martin’s numbers certainly look better than ARods, as he is OPSing 1.117 in the postseason so far. But the difference between Martin and ARod is literally 2 hits. Teixeira has 4 singles this postseason. Jeter has one extra base hit, but he probably has to buy Adam Jones dinner to thank him for that “triple” last night.

    If ARod goes out and has a nice game tonight his postseason numbers will look great despite his struggles thus far. Against Saunders he is 7 for 16 with a couple of dingers. Let’s all just take a breath and calm down a little instead of working ourselves into a frenzy over 12 ABs.

  11. vallewho - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Yet another media controversy; complete disconnect from what’s going on in the clubhouse.

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