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Breaking: Yankees Bench A-Rod For Game Five

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Alex Rodriguez isn’t starting for the Yankees tonight. Instead, Eric Chavez is at third and Raul Ibanez will DH.

Breaking: Yankees Bench A-Rod For Game Five

In this article…

The New York Post just broke the news that Alex Rodriguez won't start this afternoon's decisive Game Five between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  Eric Chavez will be playing third base, Derek Jeter will return to shortstop after hitting in the DH spot last night, and Game Three hero Raul Ibanez will be the designated hitter.

A-Rod's struggles during this and many postseasons have been well documented by every baseball writer and fan, but to me, the timing seems odd for this benching.  When you look at the Yankees lineup, Rodriguez has certainly hurt New York.  In the first four games, Rodriguez went 2-16 (.125) with two walks and nine strikeouts.  He hasn't been great, which prompted Girardi to pinch-hit Ibanez in the ninth inning of Game Three.  Rodriguez was left in to face Baltimore righty Darren O'Day last night late in the game, and promptly struck out.  Chavez pinch-hit for him in the 13th inning and made the final out.

Does his performance so far merit the benching?  Certainly.  Especially with Rodriguez hitting third in the lineup for the first three games, that lack of production is a killer in the postseason.  But A-Rod hasn't been the only one.  As SI's Cliff Corcoran noted in his Game Five preview, nobody is really hitting for the Yankees.  

Nick Swisher, whose career postseason numbers are far worse than Rodriguez’s, is 2-for-15 (.133) with two walks and no extra-base hits. Curtis Granderson, who was second in the AL in home runs this season, is 1-for-16 (.063) with a single, a walk and nine strikeouts. Most shockingly, Robinson Cano, who finished the regular season with the longest streak of multi-hit games in the last five years, is just 2-for-18 (.111) with a walk, though both of his hits were doubles.

Because Joe Girardi’s hunch to pinch-hit Raul Ibañez for Rodriguez paid off so spectacularly in Game 3, there has been much scuttlebutt about benching Rodriguez, but doing so would unfairly single out Rodriguez, who did reach base twice in Game 4, while Swisher, Granderson and Cano went a combined 0-for-16 without so much as a walk. The Yankees’ problems run far deeper than Rodriguez.

The move might end up working out for Girardi, and A-Rod hasn't performed, but plenty of Yankees haven't come through.  It's been a running theme for both offenses in this series, and perhaps this decision spark something in the lineup.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.

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