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ALDS Game 3: Alex Rodriguez a Jerk Even in Yankees Win

Alex Rodriguez
Latest posts by Tom Fitzgerald (see all)

Alex Rodriguez is one of those rare players who can be a Jerk even when his teams manages to pull out a victory. The New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night to a take a 2 to 1 series lead with a little help from A-Rod … kind of.

Going into the bottom of the ninth inning the Baltimore Orioles had a 2-1 lead. Closer Jim Johnson took the mound:

Ichiro Suzuki lined out.

Rodriguez was up next. But … wait … Joe Girardi … pinch-hit for A-Rod.

This is no small matter. In fact, Ian O’Conner of ESPN.com opined, “the manager made the gutsiest call any Yankees employee has made since Brian Cashman invited Derek Jeter to dinner after the 2007 season and told the captain, in effect, that he was a lousy defensive player who needed to improve or else.”

Our Advanced Scout in New York reported A-Rod does have a heart, although he admitted he could neither confirm nor deny that report. If A-Rod does indeed have a heart, the ninth inning must have really hurt at some strange deep personal A-Rod level.

Raul Ibanez was the hitter of choice for Girardi to take A-Rod’s turn in the order. Ibanez quickly deposited a Jim Johnson pitch over the centerfield wall. Game tied 2-2. No matter how many years go by, the Ibanez home runs will be partly remembered as the “pinch-hit for A-Rod home run.” Site note: this is the second time Jim Johnson has been mentioned here at Baseball Jerks in just three days.

The numbers make sense as to why Girardi would want to pinch-hit for Rodriguez.

Let’s look at some of A-Rod’s numbers so far in the 2012 postseason:

AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
12 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 7 .083 .154 .083 .237

But this is A-Rod. How can you pinch hit for a guy who can tie the game with one swing of the bat? Isn’t this the same guy with 647 career home runs? Isn’t this the same guy who has the fifth most home runs in the history of baseball?

You can’t blame Girardi for making the move though. A-Rod’s past three postseason series have not gone well.

A quick glance at the numbers tell the story:

Year Series Opp G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB IBB
2010 ALCS TEX 6 25 21 4 4 2 0 0 2 3 4 .190 .320 .286 .606 6 0
2011 ALDS DET 5 23 18 1 2 0 0 0 3 4 6 .111 .261 .111 .372 2 0
2012 ALDS BAL 3 13 12 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 7 .083 .154 .083 .237 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/11/2012.

14 straight postseason games without a home run. If his name wasn’t Alex Rodriguez, the move would seem like a no brainer. But it was A-Rod, and the matter had to be handled with care.

According to Cindy Boren of the Washinton Post, Girardi told A-Rod:

“‘You’re scuffling a little bit right now.We have got a low-ball hitter and we’ve got a shorter porch in right field than left field obviously. Raul’s been a good pinch hitter for us, and I’m just going to take a shot.’”

After the game A-Rod told reporters:

 “I couldn’t be happier for Raul. Ten years ago, I might have reacted differently. I admit I might not have taken it as well. But I have matured. I told Joe when he came to me that he had to do exactly what he felt he had to do.” (Washington Post)

So A-Rod said all the right things after the game. Big deal. A-Rod has never received the same kind of love Jeter gets from New York. And he shouldn’t. Jeter is “Mr. Novemeber” —A-Rod is the guy who was pinch-hit for in ninth inning of a playoff game. But it’s not a mere lack of love we see with A-Rod. It has descended into something with more vitriol.

I can’t believe I am about to say this, but let’s look at some tweets from Donald Trump for a Yankees fan perspective:

and:

and to just rub some salt in A-Rod’s wounds:

Maybe it’s just me, but I take the Jeter praise as more of a shot at A-Rod.

Poor, poor A-Rod.

If Jose Valverde is our Jerk of the Day, A-Rod makes a strong case for second place.

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