So far, Rodriguez' postseason has been nothing much to cheer about, three singles in 11 at-bats against the Twins, a stat that is lost in the euphoria, or relief, over the three-game ALDS sweep, and not especially poor among Yankees regulars.
But against a team like the Texas Rangers, who have many more weapons on both sides of the ball than the Twins did, an A-Rod evaporation would not only be unacceptable, but perhaps insurmountable for the Yankees.
Let's put Rodriguez's ALDS numbers in perspective here. A-Rod hit 3 singles in 14 at-bats (.271 BA, .308 OBP). Jeter hit 4 singles in 14 at bats (.286 BA, .286 OBP) drove in one run, and scored one run. While neither of them had superstar series, neither of those sets of numbers were abysmal, either. Of course, only one of their numbers merits a column!
And Jeter is the player who hit just .270 this year, showing very little at the plate for the last 3 1/2 months. Yet how many stories did we read this year about how he turned it on again in October, even though his ALDS numbers are virtually the same as not just A-Rod, but as what he did in the regular season? Funny how two players with nearly the same stats get such different treatment from the media.
As for the whole "if one star stinks, the whole team is doomed" idea, Mark Teixeira went 3-for-22 in last year's World Series, and the Yankees still managed to win. Imagine that!
Funny thing is that Matthews then writes about Rodriguez (emphasis added): "Certainly the Yankees could have beaten the Phillies without him last year -- he tailed off to .250 (5-for-20 with 1 HR) in the World Series -- but there's no way they would gotten there without him." Which one is it, dude?
Matthews then opines that:
Now, it's time for A-Rod to start earning that $32 million salary again. One great postseason does not a career make or a reputation change.Tell that to Bill Mazeroski. Or Bucky Dent. Or Aaron Boone. And also tell that whole rep-changing thing to Bill Buckner and Grady Little.
Matthews continues on this dubious track:
There's never been a question of what Alex Rodriguez is capable of doing on a baseball field, only questions about whether he actually would do them at the time they are needed most.
Last year, he laid a lot of those questions to rest.
But in one of the most beautiful, and stubborn, aspects of baseball, every season those questions have a habit of re-emerging, demanding to be answered all over again.Oh, please. This has nothing to do with being an aspect of baseball, but an aspect of the media. Writing about A-Rod, especially in a negative fashion, sells papers, and garners clicks on websites. And you just know if Rodriguez had hit .400 with three homers in the ALDS, Matthews and his ilk would write about how A-Rod could only hit in the playoffs against Minnesota!
What do you think? Tell us about it.