NEW YORK – New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi stood by the embattled Alex Rodriguez, slotting him in the No. 3 spot for Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
With a disgruntled public clamoring for his drop in the lineup after going 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in the first two games of the series, Rodriguez finds himself just like he was in the first two games – with a twist. He'll be the designated hitter while Eric Chavez is at third base.
While Joe Torre set precedent for a playoff demotion – he batted a struggling Rodriguez eighth in Game 4 of the 2006 ALDS – Girardi stayed with a similar lineup to the first two games, in which Baltimore held New York scoreless over 13 of 18 innings.
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The Yankees were the second-best offense in the major leagues during the regular season, scoring 804 runs. Rodriguez batted third for 68 games, and 11 of the final 12, in a season during which he posted a career-low .783 OPS.
Most troubling has been the 37-year-old's swing-and-miss propensity. According to BaseballAnalytics.org, Rodriguez has whiffed on 11 of his 23 swings this postseason, six on fastballs.
His troubles have come particularly against the bullpen. Rodriguez struck out twice in Game 2 – once against Darren O'Day in the seventh inning with a runner on first and to end the game against Jim Johnson with the bases empty.
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For his career in the postseason, A-Rod is hitting .271/.380/.484 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs over 258 at-bats. Over his last three postseasons, he is 10-for-59 with zero home runs, six RBIs and 17 strikeouts.
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