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Another Swing and Miss: Alex Rodriguez’s Ten Worst Postseason Moments

Hbp, Postseason

Alex Rodriguez, for one reason or another, is not much of a postseason player. Known as one of the best talents of his generation, a player who has a career batting line of .300/.384/.560 with 647 home runs, 318 stolen bases and 1,950 RBI, Rodriguez has hit for only .265/.372/.467 with 13 home runs, 8 SB, and 41 RBI in 74 games. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they also don’t reflect the highest-paid player in MLB history. And whenever he is placed in a big moment, it seems Rodriguez can’t deliver. Some of this is exacerbated by the New York media, but some of it is self-inflicted. Here are Rodriguez’s 10 worst postseason moments.

10) World Series Games 1&2 New York vs. Philadelphia – 2009

After being an integral part of the Yankees run to the 2009 title series, Rodriguez nearly cost New York the title with his performances in the first two games of the series where he went a combined 0-8 with 6 strikeouts. Fortunately for Rodriguez, his teammates managed to win game two, and he rebounded for the rest of the series to ensure he would hold at least one ring.

9) ALCS Game 3 Seattle vs. New York – 2000

Down two games to zero against the team he would one-day join, Rodriguez was making his first appearance in the ALCS playing for the best team he had ever been a part of up to that point in his career. The Mariners were facing a must-win game three, and Rodriguez came out and fell flat, going 0-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. The Mariners lost, effectively ending their season.

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8) Games 1&2 ALDS New York vs. Cleveland – 2007

After winning the 2007 AL MVP, Rodriguez and the Yankees faced Cleveland in the first round of the 2007 postseason. Instead of continuing his regular season success, in the first two games, Rodriguez went 0-6 with 3 strikeouts and the Yankees went down 0-2 in the series. Rodriguez bounced back in games 3 and 4, but the damage was done and the Yankees did not advance.

7) ALCS New York vs. Detroit – 2012

After a very close series with Baltimore that saw Rodriguez benched in game five, New York began a series with the Detroit Tigers. After going 1-7 with 3 strikeouts in the first two games, Rodriguez was benched in game three, and only appeared as a mid-game substitution in game four. Rodriguez ended the series 1-9 with 3 strikeouts and the Yankees were unceremoniously swept from the 2012 postseason.

6) ALDS New York vs. Detroit – 2011

In the first round of the 2011 postseason, Rodriguez was a complete non-factor in a series that went the full five games. Rodriguez finished 2-18 with 6 strikeouts and 4 walks. Even worse, the two games the Yankees won were both blowouts. Both of Rodriguez’s hits came in one of these games. The three losses were all by one run. In the deciding game five, Rodriguez went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and the Yankees lost 3-2.

5) ALDS New York vs. Baltimore – 2012

These two teams were as close as could be during the regular season, and during the postseason, nothing changed. The series went to five games, with the Yankees barely escaping with the 3-2 series victory. In the series, Rodriguez went 2-16 with 9 strikeouts, setting the stage for his subsequent benching.

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4) ALDS New York vs. Los Angeles Angels – 2005

After a 95-win regular season, the New York Yankees had home field advantage in the divisional round of the postseason against the Angels. A big part of their regular season success had been based on Alex Rodriguez, who won his second MVP award that season. But in the postseason, Rodriguez managed only 2 hits in 15 ABs while striking out 5 times, and the Yankees lost the series in five games.

3) ALDS New York vs. Detroit – 2006

After winning their ninth consecutive divisional title and the most games in the American League, the Yankees were hopeful for a deeper postseason run than in 2005. But Rodriguez stumbled again in the divisional round against Detroit, going 1-14 with 4 strikeouts and 1 HBP and the Yankees were done in four games.

2) ALCS Games 4-7 New York vs. Boston – 2004

Sometimes forgotten amidst Boston’s amazing, improbable comeback and David Ortiz’s heroics is that, over the last four games in the series, Alex Rodriguez went a combined 2-17 with 1 run scored and 2 RBI. He wasn’t the only reason the Yankees lost, but he definitely didn’t help.

1) The “Number on the Ball” Incident – 2012

Stuck in the middle of another abysmal postseason, this one going so poorly that Rodriguez was benched, reports surfaced that, rather than focusing on the game on the field, Rodriguez was focused on acquiring the telephone number of an attractive woman at the game . Playing poorly is one thing; completely checking out of a game mentally and failing to support your teammates and be ready to enter the game is a whole different problem, and it doesn’t get much worse than that.

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Alex Rodriguez has had an outstanding regular season career. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for the vast numbers of people who enjoy seeing the Yankees lose), that regular season success has rarely continued into October and November for Rodriguez. With the Yankees season done after being swept by the Tigers, and Rodriguez looking worse and worse with each passing season, his opportunities to change his postseason reputation are becoming very limited. Maybe next year.

Peter Souders is a former Division One athlete at Boston College where he was on the varsity fencing team for four years, which concluded with him earning the title of Boston College’s 2012 Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. He is an avid sports fan, but baseball is his forte, and he has been published across the Yahoo! Networks discussing scouting, trades, managerial searches and team successes and failures. Follow him on Twitter @PeterSouders

Sources:

BaseballReference.com Alex Rodriguez Postseason Game Log