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An oddly timed benching for Alex Rodriguez

Oct 16, 2012, 6:06 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez AP

Alex Rodriguez appears about as helpless as a week-old kitten at the plate at the moment, at least when he’s facing right-handers, but that doesn’t make it any less baffling that manager Joe Girardi chose tonight’s Game 3 to bench him.

That’s because of the four homers the Yankees hit off Justin Verlander this year, Rodriguez was responsible for half of them.

A-Rod is 8-for-24 with three homers, four walks and just three strikeouts lifetime against Verlander. Now, that was probably the old A-Rod, the one who used to make contact more than once per game. Still, he was Girardi’s choice to start Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS despite looking horrible in the ALDS. Why sit him now?

Part of it is probably that Eric Chavez has also had some success against Verlander. In fact, he was 6-for-10 with a couple of doubles against him this year. But if the Yankees wanted, they could have used either A-Rod or Chavez at DH and stuck Raul Ibanez in left field. They were benching Nick Swisher anyway. As is, they decided to give Brett Gardner his first start since April in Swisher’s place, with Ichiro Suzuki shifting from left to right.

The changes leave the Yankees with a starting nine tonight that has four homers in 207 career at-bats against Verlander. Rodriguez and Swisher, in comparison, have combined for six homers in 79 at-bats.

I’m still not against the Rodriguez benching. He’s not the same player he was even earlier this year. It’s the timing of the decision that’s the problem. Rodriguez should have taken his seat prior to Game 2.

  1. joshcarey - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    This is the dumbest post I’ve seen on this site. We’re going to fault managers for doing intelligent things now because they do them too late? While a horde of sac bunts, dumb rotation decisions, and ridiculous lineup cards go unpunished? I know it’s sad I’m feeding the troll here, but it’s sad the troll works for the website.

    • thehypercritic - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      Look, I rarely agree with Mr. Pouliot, but suggesting this is the dumbest post on here or even most trolling post in the last week is silly.

      Girardi’s behaving as if the world was created in September and is screwing with the head of a human being he must manage for the next five years in a way that he has not done at any point in his tenure or with the other players who are also slumping.

      If any writer doesn’t at least question the wisdom of Girardi’s moves, they’re flat out not doing their job.

    • marinersnate - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      “This is the dumbest post I’ve seen on this site”

      This is not even the dumbest post today….

  2. Carl Hancock - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    It could also be disciplinary related to him hitting on women by passing notes on baseballs via a ball boy during a game his team was losing.

    • shelikesmysizemore - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      You’re an idiot if you think that a manager would bench a player in a crucial, must win game because he was hitting on women. It’s because of his terrible play.

      • scatterbrian - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:43 PM

        The only must-win games are elimination games.

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Joe probably knows more about ARod than the rest of us. He manages player injuries like Bill Bellicheck. My guess is that ARod’s hand is still broken, and after the Yankees win the world series we will hear about how he needs surgery to insert missing bones.

    • mattcerrone - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Where did the bones go missing?!!

      • Glenn - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:47 PM

        Perhaps we should ask the ball boy and those women. ba-dum-chah

  4. proudlycanadian - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    When did Arod hit those 4 home runs off Verlander? If they were hit before he broke his hand, then I understand his benching. As a hitter, he has not recovered his timing since he came off the DL following the broken hand.

    • jmp527 - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      learn to read canadia. he has accounted for half of the four home runs hit against verlander. half of 4 would be 2

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:08 PM

        Thank you for the input and while you are at it, learn to spell my friend.

      • phalatek6 - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:11 PM

        Maybe you should mind your own reading abilities, jmp.

        While your math is right that 2 is half of 4, proudlycanadian makes a good point: Alex’s HR’s against Detroit all came before his broken hand injury. Since his return, he had a September that saw a .250 average and 3 HR and another miserable postseason. I can’t say I can disagree with PC or question Girardi on this one.

      • jmp527 - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        canadia was on purpose. mock me all you want, you didn’t know that half of 4 was 2

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        You also need to learn how to structure a sentence. Sentences begin with capital letters.

      • jmp527 - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:58 PM

        Arguing with idiots, America’s true national pastime.

      • raysfan1 - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        Let’s see, you make a snarky retort to another commenter, then get offended when the commenter (and others) snark back and point out your own flaws.

        Frankly, at this point I’d have to say that if you are looking for idiots with whom to argue, you need look no further than a mirror.

      • nbjays - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        The only one I see arguing with an idiot is PC… and he’s not American.

      • proudlycanadian - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        Actually, I was not arguing with him. I was simply pointing out some grammatical errors. I do agree that he knows how to divide 4 by 2; however, I do wonder if he knows how to divide 4 by 0.

  5. randygnyc - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Arod is 4-7 with 2 home runs against Verlander this year. Nunez has 18 career errors at 70 games at shortstop. Arod would be better at shortstop, in his sleep, over Nunez and his hands of stone and arm of rubber.

    • giantsfan428 - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      A-Rod hasn’t played shortstop since 2005. Now I know the guy’s a professional, but don’t you think you’re asking a bit much of him to try and play a position he hasn’t played in 7 years while he’s mired in a horrific slump and getting booed left and right?

  6. takingbovadasmoney - Oct 16, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Joey G looking out for ARod. Benching him gives him more time to scout Detroit area poontang.

  7. theawesomersfranchise - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    ARod is getting his wake -up call and is going to rededicate himself to the game, I see a 2013 MVP type season coming from ARod next year.

    (followed by a positive test of some sort shortly there after)

  8. crankyfrankie - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Just strikes me as panic moves. I am bewildered by this lineup.

  9. kiopta1 - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Go tigers.

  10. thebadguyswon - Oct 16, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    If Robinson Cano goes 0-4 tonight, we can expect Nunez to be at second tomorrow, right?

  11. dwstanke - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    By benching A-Rod he might consider retiring so the pin stripes can get out under that ridiculous contract

  12. fantasymoney - Oct 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    It doesn’t appear that A-Rod will be worth anywhere near the financial terms of his contract over the remaining 5 years. He can always send Yuri on a trip to the D.R. to pick up some ‘Boli’ from a shady doctor. Then keep a chemist on staff for the most up to date anti-detection techniques. Or he could just retire. Or play out the remaining 5 years of his contract and endure the intense scrutiny of the fans and media for being past his prime and overpaid. Choices choices choices…..

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      He can always send Yuri on a trip to the D.R. to pick up some ‘Boli’ from a shady doctor

      No reason to visit a “shady” doctor in the DR for steroids as they are legal there…

      • fantasymoney - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        Actually, I thought they all were too, but I did a little fact checking prior to making my post and I came accross this article (if it this site doesn’t allow links search for the word boli on nydailynews):

  13. j0esixpack - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Now would be a perfect time for the Yankees to sign him to another 10 year extension so he can play til he’s 52 instead of just 42. You always want to “buy low” when it comes to getting good value for players.

    They can probably get him for the bargain price of just $200 million seeing as they already need to pinch hit for a $25 million a year player.

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