Oh, to be A-Rod in a tight situation

Yanks lose tough game
A review of MLB's instant replay

Poor Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees’ 27-Million-Dollar Man has had a month to forget. Since going 5 for 5 in Texas on May 25th, A-Rod has hit just .186 over his last 20 games with a .314 slugging percentage and a .352 OBP. That .666 OPS is devilish indeed.

Last night, A-Rod had a chance to be a hero. After a Mark Teixeira single, A-Rod came to the plate as the potential winning run. When the Yanks pinch ran for Teixeira with the speedy Brett Gardner, A-Rod’s chances of delivering improved. Gardner stole second on an 0-1 count and third on a 1-1 count. With the tying run just 90 feet away, A-Rod had a few pitches to lift a fly ball or knock out an RBI base hit to tie the game.

Well, as we know all too well, that didn’t happen. A-Rod drew a walk, and after a stellar at-bat by Cano, the Yanks lost when Robbie hit a 2-2 pitch on the ground right at Cristian Guzman. 6-4-3, double play. Game over. Nationals win.

After the game, as I made my way out of the stadium, I thought about how frustrating it was to watch Cano’s AB and to come away empty-handed. My dad texted me, though, and while he usually supports A-Rod, he put this one on the Yanks’ third baseman. “A-Rod was too happy to get that walk,” he said. “His job was to put the bat on the ball. He failed. He set up the double play.” After a few exchanges in which I defended A-Rod, he said, “A-Rod should have brought the run home.”

At first, I wasn’t too receptive to this idea. Of course, we wanted A-Rod to bring the run home but not at the risk of swinging at bad pitches. A walk, after all, keeps the line moving, and doesn’t baseball wisdom dictate that a walk is as good as a hit? Here’s a thought though: What if it isn’t?

To find out, let’s turn to some win expectancy numbers. These number measure the percentage of times the team in any given situation wins the game. When the Yanks started the 9th inning, they had a 9.7 percent shot at winning. After Damon’s home run, that number hit 20.9, and when Brett Gardner made it to third with one out, the Yanks had a 41.9 percent Win Expectancy. The game was nearly in their grasp.

When A-Rod walked, that number went up by 4.7 percent. Facing a one-run deficit with two on and one out, the home team wins 46.6 percent of the time. That move, though, didn’t maximize A-Rod’s potential contributions. In fact, outside of an unproductive out or an improbable double play, it was the least A-Rod could do.

With Alex up, there were a few different outcomes. He could end the game with a two-run home run; he could drive in the run with a base hit; he could drive in the run with an out; or he could walk. Ending the game would have pushed the Yankees’ Win Expectancy from 41.9 to 100. A base hit would have pushed the team’s WE somewhere from the upper 60-percent range to the low 80-percent area depending upon whether the hit was a single, double or triple. An out with an RBI would have tied the game. For 2009, in a tie game with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, the home team wins 53 percent of the time. Historically, that number is closer to 60 percent.

As we saw, A-Rod’s true outcome bumped the team WE up by 4.7 percent. A walk was not in fact as good as a hit.

A-Rod got on base; he improved the team’s chances to win; he kept the line moving. He didn’t maximize his opportunity, and he — as the clean-up hitter — didn’t drive home the run the Yanks needed to score. Maybe he didn’t see his pitch; maybe he’s not feeling it at the plate right now. He did not, however, induce the double play, and the Yanks had a better to chance to win after A-Rod’s at-bat than before it. It’s not always his fault.

Yanks lose tough game
A review of MLB's instant replay
  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

    As I said in the recap, the only real hittable pitch of the at bat was the one he fouled off. I don’t see a reason to ever blame a guy, whether it be Ramiro Pena or A-Rod, for taking a walk, no matter the situation. A-Rod took two swings, so it’s not like he was up there praying for a walk. He didn’t get much to hit, and in that situation you just take your walk.

    • A.D.

      Exactly, they pitched very carefully to him, and teams have been in general, which is why his OBP is 150+ points higher than his average.

      Plus he’s been struggling, he knows it, the crowd knows it, and the other team knows it, he was able to not record an out and leave it up to a guy hitting much better lately. Just didn’t work out, if the hip is a 100% maybe A-Rod steals 2nd to stay out of the DP

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      +1

    • OldYanksFan

      Agreed. ARod is NOT a bad ball hitter. Maybe with Vlad at bat, you think differently. ARod is a guess and mistake hitter, so he is not great w/2 strikes unless the pitcher grooves one. He also tends to be fooled by bad pitches. So while the situation may have cried out for an RBI, anytime ARod avoids swinging at a bad pitch, and taking a walk instead, it’s a good thing.

      Remember when Barry had 69 HRs and nobody would pitch to him? I’m sure he was anxious to hit a HR. But he took walk after walk after walk. When a pitcdher refuses to pitch to a guy, you just do the pitcher a favor if you go after balls not in the strike zone.

      JD, Cano and others can hit a bad pitch. ARod can’t. That’s just the reality. So based on that, he did what he could.

      • kunaldo

        ehh…i kinda see your point, but i’ve seen alex hit plenty of bad balls….into the seats especially…

        does he get fooled sometimes by good pitches? sure, but he still has an exceptional eye at the plate

        • Zach

          i think he meant ‘bad balls’ as in balls out of the strike zone, not hanging curve or fastball down the middle

    • KayGee

      The one thing I do not understand is how Cano is praised for a “stellar” at bat while A-Rod is basically considered to have failed. Cano fouled off A NUMBER of very, very hittable pitches in the same location. He was in the same position as A-Rod…hit a fly ball and the game is tied. Sure, A-rod could have put a charge in that pitch he fouled off, but Cano had even more opportunities to come through and ended up doing the worst thing possible. A-Rod put himself in a position to win the game (winning run on 1st). I do not understand how the blame shifts to A-Rod when Cano is the biggest culprit of all. I am no A-Rod lover, not by any stretch of the imagination, but this is just unfair.
      I have long been screaming for Cano to be removed from the 5 hole and have him replaced by Posada. Canos numbers take a severe turn for the worst with RISP, RISP with 2 outs, and the bases loaded. He is not selective enough or a good enough situational hitter to hit in this spot. It belongs to Posada. Cano is a table setter, not an RBI machine.

      • http://theyankeebomber.blogspot.com Conan

        Cano definitely had at least 2 hittable pitches. This guy either needs to start producing in the clutch or get comfortable in the 7-hole of the lineup.

    • JimT

      Hitting a baseball is an incrediably difficult thing to do. Just because these guys are good at hitting doesn’t mean that’s ever easy. I’m sure that Arod was looking for a pitch he could get into the air and drive. When he didn’t get it he took the walk, the smart, correct thing to do. Give the pitcher some credit, he made pitches designed to induce ground balls and eventually got the job done. Sometimes the other guys succeed, its not just about failure.

    • Zach

      I agree.

      I love fans, its 2009 and AVG means nothing and its all OBP, OBP, OBP. So a guy WALKS and raises his OBP and WTF HIT THE BALL! ha funny, people are crazy. its not Arod’s fault, Lannan pitched a hell of a game, Cano had a great at bat, finally got beat, oh well

  • http://heshould Chris

    have stole second.

    • Jake K.

      I agree. If we can blame Arod for anything, *maybe* it’s not running once he’d walked. But that may be on Girardi. Or maybe the percentages were against running there and they did the right thing, it just didn’t work out.

    • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

      Despite the fact that the above sentence is missing a subject and a verb, I agree with the sentiment.

    • Zach

      ARod steals second. Intentionally walk Cano. defense can now play back for an even easier DP or force out at home.

      Both scenarios there is a threat of a DP, i like Cano batting with guys on the corner better then Jorge with bases loaded

  • Frank Fernandez

    Put the spreadsheet away and accept the wisdom of your elders.

    Your Dad is right.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Yes, we would’ve liked Rodriguez to bring the run home there, but he didn’t. At the same time, though, he didn’t make an out and got on base as the winning run. If he’s not going to get the run in, wouldn’t getting on base be the next best thing?

      • Frank Fernandez

        Yes…still, we don’t pay clean-up hitters to be happy to draw a walk with the game on the. That’s what some of us picked up on.

        Dear Ben’s Dad: You’re not alone.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          So you’re unhappy that he walked? Would you prefer he went down swinging or tried for force it witha bad swing? Like Joe said above, Rodriguez had one real hittable pitch in the AB and he fouled it off.

        • Chris

          We pay clean-up hitters to help us win the game, and that’s what he did. This idea that we pay sluggers to swing at bad pitches just so they can say they tried is ridiculous.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Yep. Also, Rodriguez isn’t here just because he can drive in runs. He’s here also because he’s a good OBP guy with terrific plate discipline.

          • Frank Fernandez

            The Defenders are missing the point. It’s not that he took the walk, it’s that he was happy (and visibly relieved if you saw the post-game interview) that he was able to get the walk that bothers at least some of us. More confirmation that Alex is tied up in knots from the neck up in these situations at home. And there was no, “the walk was fine, but I’ve got to get that run home,” from him. Of course, coming from Alex, that would only sound like BS anyway.

            Now I can already hear, “See, Alex is damned if he does and damned is he doesn’t.” We’re not going to agree on the lightning rod. Some see pretty numbers on a spreadsheet with this guy, others see someone who is overcompensated for his statistics and too often excused for his failures in the clutch.

            Credit the OP for at least giving voice to this unscientific and wholly legitimate POV on Alex.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Sure, Alex isn’t a great and eloquent public speaker, but who gives a shit about what he said? I’d be happy to work a walk in that spot, too. MacDougal throws real hard with real good movement–I’d be real happy to get on base AS THE WINNING RUN in that situation. Why is this a bad thing? He had one pitch to hit and he fouled it away. Would you rather he chased bad pitches and got out?

            • Nady Nation

              “Some see pretty numbers on a spreadsheet with this guy, others see someone who is overcompensated for his statistics and too often excused for his failures in the clutch.”

              Except, he didn’t fail in the clutch last night. He only failed in your eyes. In other people’s eyes, he reached base as the winning run for our hottest hitter.

            • Chris

              The greatest thing about the 1998-2000 team is that the offense had a ‘pass-the-baton’ mentality. No one felt the pressure to try to do too much offensively. Those teams are lauded for that attitude, yet now A-Rod has that same attitude and he’s vilified for it.

              He should be happy to get the walk. He swung at 2 pitches and fouled them off. The other 4 pitches were no where near being strikes, so he took them. So your complaint basically boils down to the fact that neither of the pitches he swung at were put into play?

            • YankeeScribe

              The booing from fans at home is definately affecting A-Rod and that may be part of the reason that he was relieved to draw the walk instead of hitting into a DP or striking out. I was somewhat relieved that he walked and didn’t make an out as well.

              As someone pointed out earlier, Cano shouldn’t be batting 5th. he saw better pitches than A-Rod and didn’t do anything with them…

              • Frank Fernandez

                Note that I say “these situations at home.” There’s a visible difference to me. He did get a very big hit for us last week in Fenway (and it wasn’t the first time). Happened on a 3-2 pitch no less after a great AB. Unfortunately for him, half our games are here and he needs to somehow learn to dial it down in pressure AB’s here or the booing will only intensify.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  So I guess that walk off against the Twins and the game tying homer against the Phillies was just a figment of my imagination?

                • Frank Fernandez

                  Thinking that’s typical A-Rod-in-the-clutch at home is a figment of your imagination.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  He’s had 5 walk off homers with the Yankees. That’s good stuff if you ask me.

            • yankeegirl49

              “others see someone who is overcompensated for his statistics and too often excused for his failures in the clutch.”

              Excused???? There is NO ONE who gets more crap when he fails than Arod..NO ONE!

        • Observer283

          Frank, this argument would have merit if he didn’t swing at anything up there. He swung at the first pitch he saw (which was a breaking ball low and away that he shouldn’t have swung at) and he swung at the best pitch to hit he had in his at-bat. This is not the behavior of someone “happy to draw the walk.”

          Should he have done more with the pitch he got to hit? Sure, it would have been nice. But guys foul off hittable pitches ALL the time. I’m glad he didn’t try to make up for it by making an out. The next two pitches were unhittable. He almost swung at the 3-2 pitch. If he had done that, he would have struck out.

          As for stealing second, you have the hottest hitter on the team at the plate and a BAD RIGHT HIP. I would have loved if he did it, but that is just a risk you can’t take unless you are sure you are going to make it.

          So, it all comes down to fouling off a hittable pitch. If we are going to get mad at a hitter for fouling of a hittable pitch, staying in the at-bat, and drawing a walk…well…then…I just don’t know.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yes…still, we don’t pay clean-up hitters to be happy to draw a walk with the game on the. That’s what some of us picked up on.

          Where the hell did this “happy” crap come from?

          I have no reason to believe ARod was at all “happy” to take the walk. I’m sure he would have been infinitely happier to plate the run.

          He was resigned to taking the walk, because that’s what they gave him.

          Sweet Jeebus Christ, all of this crap is insanity. If ARod was hurt and that had been Tex, Posada, Matsui, Giambi, Tino, Bernie, O’Neill, Mattingly, every single other cleanup hitter in the history of the Yankees, we’d all be saying “Eh, it sucks that he didn’t get anything to hit, but what can you do, they were pitching around him because he’s a great hitter.

          Instead, when it’s ARod, he’s a scared pussy girl without the balls to swing and he was pleased as a pig in shit to not have to swing the bat. Taking a walk for 99% of cleanup hitters in baseball is an expected part of the game. For ARod, it’s a freaking referendum on his masculinity.

          Gimme a break.

  • Matt S

    Why do we have Angel Berrora? Can he pinch run and steal a base? I guess he can’t, because Girardi didn’t put him into the game last night. If Berrora could run, he could have stayed out of the double play by either 1.) stealing the base or 2.) getting a good jump and going in hard to second.

    Yanks should release Berrora and call up another speedy bench player. Riiiidiculous.

    • JRVJ

      This, to me, is the whole crux of the inning.

      I can understand why A-Rod didn’t run in the 9th. He’s not as limber as he used to be and his hip is not too good.

      The problem is that the Yanks had already used up their one pinch runner (Gardner, who did his job well). Since Ramiro Peña was already playing, due to Jeter’s minor injury, only Berroa was on the bench.

      If Berroa is not a better base runner than A-Rod at this point, why the heck is he on the team?

      (Phrased differently, now that it turns out Veras did not have naked pictures of Cashman with a billygoat, I’m thinking it’s Berroa who’s had them all along).

      • Bo

        Berroa is utterly worthless. This team was playing with 23 men every night with Veras on the team. Now its 24. he brings nothing to the table at this point.

  • Jeremy

    ARod strikes out on bad pitches -> He was trying too hard to be the hero.

    ARod walks on bad pitches -> He was too happy to pass the baton.

    ARod hits sac fly, ties game -> He settled for the sac fly, he should have been more aggressive.

    ARod hits walk-off HR -> Meh, it was against the Nationals’ bullpen.

    ARod cures cancer -> Awesome, but he’s still hitting just .220.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      IETC.

    • yankeegirl49

      Arod hits a game tying GS in the 9th inning of game 7 of the WS -> he should have found a way to hit a 5 run HR to win it.

    • Jamal G.

      Sir, I am going to bookmark this comment, thank you for your wisdom.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Exactly.

      Oh, and you forgot:

      ARod is hitting .400/.600/.800 -> He’s just padding his stats.

      ARod has a .750 batting average with RISP -> what about the other 25% of the time?

  • Joe R

    Im surprised a double steal wasnt attempted or at least any steal. A-Rod has more than enough speed to go and although the pitcher throws hard with decent quickness to home, with the movement of MacDougal’s pitches and Gardner’s speed on 3rd ready to come home i’m not sure Bard even throws to 2nd. Girardi was aggressive with Gardy and worked (almost) and should have kept it goin imo.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD
      • Joe R

        Maybe not an outright double steal. Make sure the catcher is throwing. Even if the ball got cut off, Gardner had such a good secondary lead off 3rd that I think he would’ve scored anyways. I’m not saying no steal is why we lost, I’m just saying I would’ve preferred Girardi to stay aggressive like he did with having Gardner steal. I understand the risk tho.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          With the tying run on third and less than two outs and a good contact hittera t the plate, attempting a steal of home, even on a “double steal” is a risk I wouldn’t be willing to take.

    • donttradecano

      Why would you even think about stealing home and risk getting the tieing run thrown out. This aint little league, its not that easy to steal home.

      • Joe R

        Its easy to steal home in little league?

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          You’d be surprised.

          • Joe R

            Are you even allowed to lead off in LL?

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Well, I umpire Cal Ripken League games and in the upper division for 11-12 year old’s, there’s leading, balks, etc. I had to end a game on a balk last night. I felt bad.

              • Joe R

                Ah that sucks. Whenever I hear Little League I think younger kids but I’d imagine it covers most ages.

              • Zach

                damn, balk to end the game, almost worst then a dropped pop up. i saw on YES that al leiter said there was like 20+ ways to balk, crazy.

      • Jake K.

        No one is advocating a straight steal of home. People are saying Arod should have run, in which Gardner would have had the option of breaking for home on the throw. I’d say there’s a good chance either the catcher doesn’t make the throw to second, he throws and Gardner is able to score, or Gardner bluffs going home and forces the SS to cut off the throw in front of the bag, getting Arod in safely.

        • Joe R

          Exactly.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          That’s true. I would’ve liked to have seen Rodriguez run, but I’m not mad that he didn’t. It probably has something to do with the fact that he’s probably not 100% yet, as well. Maybe he just didn’t feel comfortable running.

          I just can’t believe we’re discussing Rodriguez’s perceived shortcomings when Cano was the one who hit into the DP.

          • Jake K.

            Agreed, it’s odd that people are questioning why Arod took the walk instead of Cano’s refusal to let MacDougal walk him.

          • Joe R

            I think thats on Girardi, not A-Rod. But blaming him for not driving in the run and walking instead is just “BAT SHIT INSANE”.

        • donttradecano

          Arod could have ran, but honestly Gardner shouldnt have moved off of third unless hes damn sure that the throw is going all the way to the bag. Even giving Gardner the option is too risky of a play for the fact that their is a very good chance he gets gunned down at the plate. The throw could look like its going all the way to the bag, till Guzman cuts it off and gets Gardner.

          Too risky with the tieing run and less than 2 outs just avoid a double play.

  • donttradecano

    I dont see where the blame on ARod comes in. Instead of trying to force the action and swing at a pitch that wasnt hittable and probably striking out, he drew a walk. If he tries to drive that run in and swings at ball four and Ks, everyone would be up in arms that he should have taken the walk. Cant blame a guy for having a good at bat just because it ended up resulting in a double play. Arod couldnt help that.

    People are ridiculous.

  • PhukTheHeck

    ARod cures cancer -> Awesome, but he’s still hitting just .220.

    or my personal favorite, he did it in June and not in October when it matters.

    sigh

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      And if he did it in October, it’s “Yeah, but where was that in June when we needed it in that big game against the Nationals?”

  • Nady Nation

    This is pretty amazing. Cano was 8 for his last 11 before his AB in the 9th, and A-Rod’s been mired in a miserable slump, yet A-Rod, our coldest hitter, gets on base and passes the baton to our hottest hitter, Cano, with a chance to win the game, and somehow A-Rod is to blame? Even though Cano is the one who failed? If A-Rod would’ve swung at a pitch out of the zone and struck out in an attempt to drive in Gardner, he would’ve been crucified. I haven’t been A-Rod’s biggest supporter, come on – this is just absurd. Cano didn’t get the job done, period.

    • Nady Nation

      *but, come on…

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      Girardi should’ve definitely sent A-Rod on a run and hit at least. If it was a pitchout or a pitch out of the zone and the catcher threw down to second, Gardner could’ve probably made it to home. If it’s in the zone, Cano is great at making contact so we probably avoid the DP and Gardner makes it home also.

      • MattG

        if it got to 3-2, I agree with you. 2-2, no. Rodriguez has at least a 30% chance of being thrown out on ball 3 there, and maybe much more, as he probably isn’t running well. That’s much higher than the chance of Cano hitting into a double play.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        The lengths that people will go to try and pin this loss on ARod or Girardi is incredible.

        “ARod should have swung at pitches outside of the zone and not taken the walk.”
        “No, that’s insane.”
        “Oh, well then, he should have stolen second to break up the DP.”
        “You do realize he’s recovering from hip surgery and if he gets thrown out at second base, it eliminates the chance to score a run on a sac fly, right?”
        “Well, Girardi should have at least sent him on a hit and run, then.”

        It’s like people have a “Blame Master Flowchart” that has 33 different ways to pin the blame for anything on ARod, Girardi, or Cashman.

        • Jamal G.

          That last line falls under the category of “Truer Words Have Never Been Spoken/Read/Typed.”

  • MattG

    You needed to consult WE to figure out a walk wasn’t as good as a hit there?

    Well, I’m glad you did, anyway. It is interesting to know the win expectancy ticked up 4.7% for the walk. I would’ve guessed more, as that is the winning run with only 1 out.

    Rodriguez has to take his walk. The opposing team understands the odds, too. A three-ball pitch in that at bat is going to be the same as a two-strike pitch. You don’t want Alex swinging at two-strike pitches.

    Cano hit into the double play. It’ll happen. I am disappointed that he saw 5-6 pitches in the same spot at the same speed in a row, and the best he could do was a ground out to shortstop. At some point, he should’ve guessed outside fastball and slashed it to left field.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      He did try to slash it to left field, just hit it hard and on the ground to the shortstop. Game of millimeters when it comes to the difference between a linedrive to left and a hard grounder to the shortstop. In the end though, it’s one loss, let’s go and get the next one.

      • MattG

        That is true–he did try to go to left–but what I mean is after all those identical pitches in a row, he should’ve been able to succeed at it. It seems like he was protecting against another pitch that never came, and this prevented him from what should’ve been just like batting practice.

        • Chris

          The funny thing is if he had hit the ball more softly and beats the throw at first, then everyone would be cheering his hustle. Instead he hits the ball hard, right into DP and everyone is critical of him.

          • MattG

            But you’re missing my point.

            I am not criticizing Cano for hitting a two-hopper to shortstop in a vacuum. I am criticizing him for hitting a two hopper to shortshop after seeing the same pitch 8 out of 9 times in a two-minute span.

            It seems like Cano never adjusted his approach after getting two strikes. He protected away, protected away, again, real good swing on pitch 6 (this gave me hope), protect away, protect away, protect away–oh, routine ground ball to short (and it was not hit hard–it couldn’t have been more routine).

            At some point, you give the pitcher the inside corner, and go all in on a pitch on the outer half. You have to know there that a strikeout is far preferable to a ground ball to short. And, if the pitcher pretty much tells you what’s coming, you have to be more ready for it than that.

            Cano wasn’t thinking, and did not change his approach. He should be criticized for that, and he should hopefully learn something from it.

            • Chris

              It’s impossible to know what Cano was thinking, but perhaps he was looking for a pitch that he could drive. Pitches on the corner (or slightly off the plate) low and away are not good pitches to hit a sac fly off of. He fouled them off looking for a better pitch to hit.

              The fallacy in in your argument is this idea that he should have been able to hit any of those pitches better. Let’s say he adjusts to cover the outside if the plate so he can get a better swing on the ball. Then they bust him inside and you get a ground ball the second baseman instead of the SS. How would that have been any better?

              • MattG

                This is me. I did not have the talent to play baseball. I tried to think my way through it, and the thing I found to be a really special treat is when I felt confident giving up one side of the plate.

                If MacDougal comes inside with pitch 6 or 7, I turn around and walk to the dugout. But I am going to be ready for the pitch on the outside corner.

                Sometimes talented players don’t want to adjust their approach (Bernie Williams, I am thinking of you). You are absolutely right that Cano was protecting away until he got a pitch in the zone. That’s what your supposed to do. But why wait for the pitcher to make a mistake? If you know the pitch is going to be there, don’t try and spoil it, try and line it somewhere. Change your approach.

                If there were two outs, and a strike out meant the end of the game, that would be tougher to do (but he should still do it). But in that situation, there is no reason to wait for a pitch down the middle, or protect the inner half at all.

                FWIW, this is not a second guess. By pitch 6 I was yelling at the computer monitor.

        • Observer283

          On the super-slow mo replay it looked like the pitch he hit had more downward movement on it than the previous pitches. I could be seeing a difference that wasn’t there, but if ti was, that may have made all the difference.

          • MattG

            It did. You have to give credit to MacDougal. He knew how he wanted to get Cano out, and he kept at it until he got some sink on the ball.

            But at the same time you give credit to MacDougal, you have to blame Cano for letting the pitcher play him like that. He should’ve taken away that zone long before #9.

    • Chris

      At some point, he should’ve guessed outside fastball and slashed it to left field.

      How do you know he didn’t? He hit a hard ground ball to the left side, it just happened to be right at the SS. If the ball had been in the hole, everyone would have been cheering him today.

      • MattG

        I don’t know he didn’t. I am guessing he was protecting against something, because he was continually late on all the 95-97 MPH fastballs that kept hitting the same spot.

        Major league hitters are incredibly successful on pitches that double-up–same speed, spin, and location, on consecutive pitches. I saw an article about it at Hardball Times.

        Cano got the same pitch at least 6 times in a row–before the one he put in play. It’s hard for me to understand why that wasn’t easy to line somewhere.

        Anyway, its silly to blame Rodriguez.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      You needed to consult WE to figure out a walk wasn’t as good as a hit there?

      No. Of course not. I used it to make it point though.

  • MattG

    Random thought: if only Cano had worked the count to 3-2, Rodriguez would’ve been running. Good job by McDougal. He only had one trick, but he stuck to it, stubbornly, until Cano messed it up.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      A-Rod should’ve been running on 2-2 IMO. With Gardner on third, the catcher would’ve at least paused momentarily before throwing to second which would’ve been good enough for A-Rod to be safe probably. Cano is great at making contact so I would’ve trusted him to swing at anything near the zone anyway.

  • GG

    Nothing is wrong with A-Rod taking a walk, its how you play the game. Everyone needs to support Alex…just wait till he has one of his torrid stretches ’07 style and carries us into first place

  • Jesus

    I think its worse that Cano fould off so many bad pitches instead of taking them, before swinging at about the 12th bad pitch of the at bat and grounding into the game ending DP. How is that a stellar at bat?

  • MattG

    Here is a visual aid for my point:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2009_06_17_wasmlb_nyamlb_1&mode=gameday

    Aside from pitch 3, pitches 1-8 where the same damn pitch. It would’ve been nice if he had laid off pitches 2 or 7–that’d made the count 3-2, and Rodriguez would’ve been running–but that’s not Cano’s game.

    Cano’s game is hitting singles. If a guy gives Cano pitch after pitch in the same spot, Cano is supposed to get a base knock.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Cano’s game is hitting singles.

      Just to nitpick a little. Cano is slugging .511. Singles hitters don’t do that.

      On another note, it’s sort of ironic that one of Cano’s biggest pluses — that he rarely strikes out — was his undoing last night.

  • CountryClub

    I dont blame Arod for taking the walk. If he struck out swinging at a bad pitch he would have been crucified. I do agree that he should have been running though. They never would have thrown through because of Gardner. That’s probably on Girardi, though.

    But when do you start thinking about moving him out of the 4 spot? A lot of us expect him to turn it around because of his track record. But what if this is kind of a lost year from him because of the injury/surgery? Maybe this is all they’re going to get out of him. He’s still dangerous, yes. But can you have a guy batting .230 hitting clean up just because he has the potential to occasionally hit one out of the park?

    He deserves a few more weeks. After that, they really have to start thinking about dropping him in the order.

    • YankeeScribe

      A-Rod doesn’t need to be moved down in the batting order. He gets on base and he provides protection to Teixera.

      Cano needs to bat 2nd not 5th.

      I personally think the booing from the home fans is starting to get to A-Rod. Here’s a guy who is not 100% healthy but playing everyday yet his home fans expect him to get a hit in every at-bat. He’s not getting good pitches to hit yet he’s still getting on base at a decent enough rate. Give the guy a break Yankee fans…

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Cano needs to bat 2nd not 5th.

        Ah, so last night’s loss was Girardi’s fault, eh?

        http://riveraveblues.com/2009/06/oh-to-be-a-rod-in-a-tight-situation-13344/#comment-437356

        • YankeeScribe

          I just fail to see the wisdom in batting Cano 5th. Either Posada, Swisher, or Matsui should be in the 5 hole, not Cano.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Cano needs to bat 2nd not 5th.

        Absolutely not.

      • CountryClub

        Protection is overrated. Plus, even if you beleive in it, I find it hard to beleive that someone hitting .219 is providing anything.

        I’m not saying it’s cut and dry one way or the other. Just looking for a discussion.

        • YankeeScribe

          I know, you know, and the pitchers know that A-Rod isn’t a career .219 hitter and won’t hit .219 the rest of the season. He’s not going to see a lot of good pitches whether he hits .200 or .400…

          • CountryClub

            That’s the point of my original post. Because of the circumstances of his injury, he very well may be a .219 hitter all year.

    • Frank Fernandez

      Not just this year. I don’t think we’ll win a championship until someone else takes over the clean-up spot for Alex and he can move to #5.

      This reminds me of being a Knicks fan in the Patrick Ewing era. We were never going win it all with him as our #1 scoring option. Warrior that he was, he had the fatal flaw of bad hands and not being able to catch and throw the basketball very well, which had the unhappy consequence of making us too easy to defend. Management got other scoring options around him, but always kept him as the first option and we never.quite.got.there.

      After six years of Alex and seeing his inability to consistently deliver in the clutch and watching teams target him in the late innings (while understanding his capacity to be useful to the team), I’m having a flashback. We need someone else who can absorb the pressure of the clean-up spot, and that player probably isn’t here right now. For whatever reason, Tex has awful numbers there and is historically great in the 3-slot. Whether management understands this and it becomes an argument for going after a Matt Holliday or not, I don’t know. But failure to address will be result in endless rounds of sabr rattling on behalf of Alex and disappointment for the rest of us.

      • Nady Nation

        Wow, the Ewing comparison couldn’t be any more horrendous. What other “scoring options” did the Knicks obtain for Patrick? The 2nd best player that Patrick Ewing played with in his prime was John Starks. Not to mention he played in the same era as the greatest basketball player that ever lived. But you are right in one regard – A-Rod and Ewing are both unfairly maligned and underappreciated by their fanbases.

        • CountryClub

          Not to mention that if Startks didnt shoot 2 for 18 in game 6 that Ewing would have had his title.

          • greg

            Or if starks hadn’t been blocked in game 6 on that 3 pointer, ewing may have had his title. Or if Jordan wasn’t born, Ewing (along with Stockton, Malone, Mourning, Robinson, and Reggie Miller) would have had many, many championships.

        • Frank Fernandez

          Way to agree with my point in Ewing while appearing to disagree. Ewing had flaws and needed help, never got as much of it as he needed. Yeah, re-read, that was my point…

          • greg

            Everyone needs help! If Jordan didn’t have a sidekick and some awesome defensive players, he wouldn’t have won 6 titles. If Mariano didn’t have leyritz (or brosius, or o’neill, etc.), maybe he doesn’t win 4 titles. No one player can do it all themselves- but they do have the capability of PREVENTING their team from winning-ala Marbury. I feel that A-rod puts up numbers that are so good that the manager has no choice but to put him in the middle of the lineup, where he no doubt faces many more high leverage situations than someone who hits 7th or 8th. This gives him the opportunity to psych himself into failing, which leads to a key K or double play when we need a key hit or sac fly. If you’re playing in a playoff game, chances are you may only get 2 (if you’re lucky 3) high leverage situations that can change the game (like leyritz in 96 or tino when he hit the grand slam, or jeter when he had help from jeff maier). If A-rod is up in one of those situations and fails (which he does more often than not in playoff situations), that makes it that much more difficult to overcome, making him a detriment if he’s in the middle of the lineup, not quite so much if he was hitting 7th or 8th. Anyway, this argument has been going on for a long time and will not be resolved- but I don’t think the Yankees can win a title with him in the middle of the lineup unless the rest of the group gets unbelievably “clutch” in every other high leverage situation.

            • Frank Fernandez

              “I don’t think the Yankees can win a title with him in the middle of the lineup unless the rest of the group gets unbelievably “clutch” in every other high leverage situation.”

              Yes.

          • Nady Nation

            I didn’t agree with your point at all. I don’t even think you have a credible point. The only sensible way to connect Ewing and A-Rod was the point that I made, which you didn’t say anything about.

            • Nady Nation

              Looking back on my first response, I never should’ve said “you’re right”. That was misleading b/c I don’t agree with anything you said, but merely pointed out that the one similarity Ewing and A-Rod DO have was one that you didn’t address.

  • JP

    MSM: Too tough on ARod, too focused on “clutch,” ignores obvious contributions by great player. Repeatedly.

    RAB Commenters: Defend ARod, properly, with stats showing his contributions.

    While I think the above is an accurate synopsis of one aspect of ARod’s tenure as a Yankee, I think lately the defenders of ARod are overshooting the mark a little.

    If you look at all the times he’s been up in big situations in the last 6 weeks, and the number of times he’s come through, you have to be disappointed.

    Those win expectancy numbers are fine and dandy. They are, however, huge, composite numbers which include situations where average or below average hitters are batting against guys like Mo and Papelbon. We had Alex Rodriguez, the centerpiece of our franchise, against a nearly washed up relief pitcher who was hit by our guys last night.

    Go ahead and defend Alex in this situation if you want, but I think it’s ok to expect more from him. He was lucky to get the walk, as it looked like he went around on that last pitch. Judging from how he looked back at the ump, I think he thought he swung.

    The infield was in, all the pressure was on Washington. He should have been able to get a fly ball in the air or chop it and put it in play and try to tie the game.

    “I had one pitch to hit…” well, maybe. But if that’s truly the case, I’d suggest he needs to re-think his approach in situations like that.

    I like the guy who said “put the spreadsheet away and listen to your Dad.”

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      “I had one pitch to hit…” well, maybe. But if that’s truly the case, I’d suggest he needs to re-think his approach in situations like that.

      What in the fuck does this mean? Why should Rodriguez chase bad pitches in key situations? What good would that do?

      • JP

        What the “fuck” it means, Matt, is that there were close pitches. Watch the at bat. You can’t tell me there was only one pitch he was capable of putting in play.

        You put the ball in play because you want to tie the “fucking” game, Matt. You have a fast guy on third and it’s the bottom of the ninth and you want to tie the game. You’re into their bullpen, and your team’s best relievers are all ready.

        Johnny Damon golf/hooked a low outside pitch from Lannan for a double a few innings earlier. Major league hitters can put marginal pitches in play. It’s part of the game. They do it all the time on hit and run.

        He’s the star, the best player on the team. It was a lousy at bat. He had one good swing, and looked tentative and terrible on the rest of them.

        Why is it wrong to expect your best player to get a big hit, or even hit a fly ball? As I said, I don’t expect him or anyone to succeed 100% of the time, but this endless apologizing for him is getting old. He’s in a terrible slump, and it’s alright for fans to be upset about it.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          What the “fuck” it means, Matt, is that there were close pitches. Watch the at bat. You can’t tell me there was only one pitch he was capable of putting in play.

          I did watch that AB and I just looked it up on Gameday, which is much more reliable than my memory and your memory. There was ONE pitch clearly in the zone, one that was boderline that would’ve been hard to get airborne and the rest were clearly balls.

          You put the ball in play because you want to tie the “fucking” game, Matt. You have a fast guy on third and it’s the bottom of the ninth and you want to tie the game. You’re into their bullpen, and your team’s best relievers are all ready.

          Did I ever say Alex shouldn’t be getting that run in from third? Yeah, I would obviously have preferred him to get the run in but I’ll take the walk that put THE WINNING RUN ON BASE. Where is the blame for Cano for hitting into the DP?

          Johnny Damon golf/hooked a low outside pitch from Lannan for a double a few innings earlier. Major league hitters can put marginal pitches in play. It’s part of the game. They do it all the time on hit and run.

          Alex =/= Johnny Damon. There was one marginal pitch that Rodriguez fouled off (pitch one, which was probably a ball anyway) and one (pitch four) that he may’ve been able to do more with but he fouled away. The rest were clearly balls, and one was a pitchout.

          He’s the star, the best player on the team. It was a lousy at bat. He had one good swing, and looked tentative and terrible on the rest of them.

          So it would’ve been a better at bat if he swung at pitch three, in the dirt or pitch five that ran way inside?

          Why is it wrong to expect your best player to get a big hit, or even hit a fly ball? As I said, I don’t expect him or anyone to succeed 100% of the time, but this endless apologizing for him is getting old. He’s in a terrible slump, and it’s alright for fans to be upset about it.

          It’s not wrong to expect him to come through there but it’s wrong to get on him for walking to PUT THE WINNING RUN ON BASE, especially when he didn’t get more than one good pitch to hit. Again, where is the blame for Cano WHO ACTUALLY ENDED THE GAME BY DOING THE WORST POSSIBLE THING HE COULD’VE DONE IN THAT SPOT?

        • Observer283

          This is just not a correct reading of the pitches A-ROd saw in the at-bat. He swung at the one pitch to hit in the at-bat. He swung at a ball. The other four pitches were pretty much unhittable. Like literally. In fact, I think we might be overstating what he accomplished in drawing the walk. Given the pitches he saw, it would have been a TERRIBLE strikeout. It would have been selfish an unproductive for him to offer at the pitches he took in that at bat.

    • MattG

      I looked at it again in Game Day. MacDougal threw him on pitch in the strike zone, one pitch that just missed low and outside. Rodriguez fouled them both.

      He also threw a pitchout, a ball in the dirt, a fastball 12-15 inches inside, and a fastball 6 inches inside and 6 inches low.

      I say tell your Dad to stop watching TV and start watching Game Day.

    • donttradecano

      What if ARod hits a sacrifice fly on ball 4 and you lose in the 10th? Youd be blaming ARod for not taking the walk and putting the winning run on base in the 9th.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yup.

        All roads lead to the same destination: Something ARod did or did not do was the reason we lost that game.

        • donttradecano

          Since you agree with me on that…lets talk about ty lawson…

  • Bo

    How can anyone bash the guy for taking a walk? It isn’t like the lineup is filled with hackers and scrubs?

    Maybe kill him for not trying to steal 2b on Josh Bard.

    • JP

      Infield in, lots of pressure on the defense. Alex is a fastball hitter. His job in that situation is to get the run in. Maybe he had only one “fat” pitch, but he looked terrible up there, and you can’t tell me there weren’t 2-3 pitches he could have hit for a sac fly or put in play on the ground.

      Like Ben’s dad said, he looked way too happy to get that walk.

      • donttradecano

        And there were also 2-3 pitches that he would have struck out swinging on. Then you have 2 out, 1 on instead of 1 out, 2 on.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Like Ben’s dad said, he looked way too happy to get that walk.

        Ben’s dad said that because Ben’s dad has a predetermined aversion to ARod. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. He finds shortcomings in ARod because he expects to find shortcomings in ARod.

        ARod wasn’t “way too happy” to take a walk. ARod took a walk because ARod had no other alternative but to take a walk, they weren’t going to give him a good pitch to hit in a good hitter’s count, that would be foolhardy suicide.

        ARod took a walk because cleanup hitters get walked in the 9th inning. It’s been happening for about 135 years of professional baseball now.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Ben’s dad said that because Ben’s dad has a predetermined aversion to ARod. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. He finds shortcomings in ARod because he expects to find shortcomings in ARod.

          I can tell you that my dad does not have a predetermined aversion to A-Rod. Like the rest of us, he was frustrated with the way the 9th unfolded and came to a different conclusion than you did.

          As I said in the post, A-Rod’s AB ended in the least possibly positive way. It’s not completely irrational to hope more from your number 4 guy. (And yes, my dad knows the pitcher had more than a little to do with it, but if that’s the case, then the Yanks need Posada and not Cano protecting A-Rod.)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Fair enough on your dad, I’ll take your word for it. But, different nitpick:

            (And yes, my dad knows the pitcher had more than a little to do with it, but if that’s the case, then the Yanks need Posada and not Cano protecting A-Rod.)

            The protection argument is bunk and you know it. It could have been Babe Ruth hitting 5th and the pitcher still isn’t going to give ARod anything to hit there.

          • Jamal G.

            The complaint here just doesn’t stand, though. ARod bashing aside (which I think is quite nonsensical when you realize the fact that a hitter’s job is to get on base, not swing the bat and hope for the best, but whatever), how can people criticize Robinson Cano’s AB? He put together an excellent AB, it’s just that the result was not in the Yankees’ favor.

            Again, Joe said it perfectly last night: “I will say it again. The Web has turned everyone into a genius, and the only way the Yankees lose is game is if everyone fucks up.”

        • Jake K.

          That and the fact that Gameday, instead of its standard red dot, used a smiley face to denote Arod at 1B.

        • JP

          … cleanup hitters get walked in the 9th inning. It’s been happening for about 135 years of professional baseball now.

          And superstars have also been winning games for their teams for about 135 years now. That happens sometimes too.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yes, when superstars get pitches to hit, they hit them.

            When they don’t, they don’t.

            • JP

              Well, ARod didn’t last night, did he? He had one hittable pitch, everyone agrees? He had one marginal pitch, and fouled that one off, too.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                So every baseball player should hit every single hittable pitch he sees? You know that every player, literally every player, fouls off pitches they should’ve done more with.

                • JP

                  Again, why does it have to be all or none?

                  So if I’m upset that ARod missed hittable pitches in a key situation, this means I also believe he should be 100% successful?

                  In the month of June, he is performing among the worst of regular players in all of baseball. As fans, we have the right to expect whatever the hell we want; we buy the tickets. Many fans expect too much and are unreasonable. Expecting a guy to elevate his game and emerge from a slump isn’t unreasonable.

                  But I’ll play along, since I’m no doubt in the minority around here. So, it’s ok ARod. You’ll get ’em next time, Tiger. Let’s all go to the snack shack and get ice cream.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  For like, the 8th time, HE HAD ONE HITTABLE PITCH AND FOULED IT AWAY. COUNTLESS HITTERS DO THIS ON COUNTLESS PITCHES.

                  No, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing but frankly, that’s how YOU’RE making it out to be. He didn’t get the run in from third, which would be the “all” here so he did “nothing” even though he extended the game and put himself on base as the winning run. The walk he took represents a middle ground between the “all” and the “nothing”.

                  Yeah, he’s having a shitty month. It happens to every player. Name me one player who’s never been in a slump. You know what helps when a player’s in a slump, though? Working walks and still getting on base so he’s not an automatic out up there.

                  No one is saying you shouldn’t be disappointed that A-Rod didn’t get the run home. Hell, I’m disappointed by it because that would’ve tied the game. HOWEVER, I’m also glad he extended the game and put the winning run on base.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Like the walk off against the Twins and the game tying homer against the Phillies?

            • Jamal G.

              Or the two-run, go-ahead double in Fenway with two outs in the seventh?

              • JP

                Ok, now how about the 5-6 times he was up bases loaded and did nothing, with 2 dps?

                I give up.

                Yes, it is unfair to focus on key situations and not look at a players’ total contributions. People are often unfair to ARod in this regard.

                Yes, even when not at his best, he is one of the most productive players in the league.

                Yes, that was a tough at bat last night.

                Yes, he has come through with some big hits this year.

                But if you guys don’t see a tentative, possibly injured, sub-par, underachieving guy in a colossal slump right now, you have to be delusional or certifiably blind.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Who here has denied Rodriguez is in a slump? Anyone? I haven’t seen it.

                • Jamal G.

                  And what does him being in a slump have to do with the fact that he drew a walk and got on-base as the winning run? Not to mention the fact that he got drew a walk in front of a hitter who has two dingers in his past two games.

                • Nady Nation

                  Did you have the same criticism of Teixeira in April during his colossal slump?

                • Nady Nation

                  Did you have the same criticism of Teixeira in April during his colossal slump?

                • JP

                  I guess you guys just look at things differently. People flame guys like Brett Tomko, or Veras…we want them strung up, DFA’d, we spare no adjectives in expressing our disgust for the failures of these players.

                  Yet we have a superstar, the best player on the planet, in a terrible funk, and the positive criticism outweighs the negative by at lesast 5 to 1.

                  I get a hell of alot more upset when ARod or Texieria or Jeter fail in a big spot than when Jose Veras or Phil Coke or Jose Molina does.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  NO ONE HAS SAID HE ISN’T IN A SLUMP! The only reason so many positive comments are coming out of this is because people like you are somehow mad that A-Rod had the audacity to walk and put himself, the winning run, on base instead of chasing bad pitches and making an unproductive out.

                • JP

                  False choice. Here’s another choice: he ends his slump by hitting one of the 2 pitches that he could have hit, and gets a hit or a productive out. But I’m supposed to apologize to him for wanting that.

                • donttradecano

                  Slumps dont end that fast my friend.

                • donttradecano

                  “I get a hell of alot more upset when ARod or Texieria or Jeter fail in a big spot than when Jose Veras or Phil Coke or Jose Molina does.”

                  People get more upset with Veras or Coke because the times they have succeded have been minimal. For everytime Arod draws a walk in a big spot, hell get a hit.

          • Nady Nation

            It does, like earlier in the year against Minnesota and Philly, and it would’ve happened last week in Boston too if the bullpen didn’t blow it.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Actually, I can tell you that. I just looked at Gameday for Alex’s at bat and there was one pitch in the zone that he fouled off (pitch 4) and one boderline pitch he swung at (pitch 1) and fouled away. Pitch 2 was a pitchout, pitch 3 was in the dirt, pitch 5 was clearly inside, and pitch 6 was clearly low. There were not 2-3 pitches he could’ve driven for a sac fly in that AB.

      • JP

        Ok, so if gameday is indeed valid and absolutely conclusive, aren’t you still upset that the best player on the team can do no better than foul off two pitches, when the game is on the line?

        When is it ok to expect something from ARod in a tight situation?

        Great players do things like this – they succeed on the one or two pitches that are hittable.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          JP, no one has said they wanted A-Rod up there to just walk. It would’ve been nice for him to get a sac fly or a single or a walk off homer or whatever. But he should not be chastised for taking a walk THAT PUT THE WINNING RUN ON BASE when there was ONE good pitch for him to hit out of the six he saw.

        • MattG

          So be upset at Rodriguez, because he got one pitch to hit, and one almost pitch to hit, tried to hit them both, and did not make an out.

          But don’t blame Cano, because he got 6 pitches to hit, all in the same spot and the same speed, and made two outs.

          Gotcha.

          • JP

            The post was about ARod. I can be upset with ARod, and more upset with Cano, at the same time.

            The unwillingness to express the least bit of disgust with a star player who is “epic fail”ing, repeatedly, just astonishes me.

            I’m not saying he or anyone else can do it any time. I don’t follow “RISP” stats. I know the value of a walk.

            I also think we can still trust our eyes and that we don’t have to defer to fangraph numbers and gameday scatterplots to mollify every thought and emotion we have as baseball fans.

            He’s the star, and he looked tentative and overmatched up there. This is not what you want to see out of your star. I just think it’s ok to call a spade a spade.

            • MattG

              He is over-matched right now. Baseball is a long season, and Rodriguez is in a bad slump. But Rodriguez did not make an out. He didn’t choke, freeze, or spontaneously combust. He hacked at the pitches he could reach, and stayed within himself. That is a good job.

            • Observer283

              Look, JP, I think I get what’s going on here. A-Rod is hitting .219 since he got back. While he has gotten on base a ton and hit 9HR’s, he’s not hitting nearly as well as we expect A-Rod to hit. Moreover, he has been unequivocally ATROCIOUS in June. There’s just no denying that fact.

              Consequently, you are frustrated with his performance. This is clearly understandable. Especially given his June performance. Futhermore, last night’s loss was tough to take. Iy’s one of those games that leaves a fan feeling angry.

              So, who to blame for a tough loss? How about the struggling star who could have tied the game with an out but didn’t? Seems easy enough.

              But it is not fair. You cannot in anyway fault A-Rod’s walk for that loss. Would it have been nice if he got a Sac fly on the pitch he fouled back? Of course. But we really cannot reach the level when we get mad at fouled off pitches in at-bats where the hitter does NOT end up making an out. I mean that’s insane. He clearly tried to drive in the run. So your, motivation argument clearly fails. He wanted a hit, or a SF, not a walk. But when he missed his pitch, he didn’t react by being selfishly over aggressive. This is a good thing.

              So, you certainly have a right to be frustrated with his recent performance. As I said above, June has been terrible for him. But don’t make his walk as the main focus of your anger. It’s not the right thing to be mad at him for.

              • JP

                Well stated, observer.

        • Joe LA

          Alright, what about this situation then:

          ARod, desperate to get the run in and save the game for the Yanks, swings on ball four and grounds it sharply to the shortstop. He tried to lift it, but getting the bat on ball four in the first place was difficult enough. Gardner expects a throw to first and being the eager beaver ends up being thrown out at the plate. Instead of runners on the corner and one out, there is now a man on first and two outs. Cano grounds out to end the game.

          On ESPN this morning, would they be talking about Gardner not checking on the shortstop before running, or about Arod swinging at ball four and not trusting Cano to get the run in?

      • Observer283

        Yes, I can tell you that there wouern’t 2-3 pitches he could have hit for a sac-fly. Go back and look at the at bat with honest eyes. There was a pitch out. The 2-2 pitch was caught behind him. The 3-2 pitch was practically in the dirt AND inside. The 1-1 pitch was in the dirt. The odds of him swinging and missing on those pitches are astronimacally high. And no, I didn’t a spreadsheet to figure that out.

  • Nick

    Edited by RAB: Homophobic slurs and insults won’t be tolerated. This commenter has been banned.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      ROBERT GOULET!!!!!!

  • Jamal G.

    I’m going insane right now – what in the fuck does “he looked to happy to take the walk” mean? It’s weird, since February 2004, it seems that NYC has been taken over by a swarm of sports and behavioral psychologists that are experts in all things Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez.

    Please, tell me and my lowly, uneducated brethren, what have you experts deemed in his behavior yesterday that led you to the conclusion that he was “too happy” with his ninth-inning plate appearance last night?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Because, my interpretations of the inner emotions of another man are wholly unquantifiable and thus, unquestionable. I can say whatever I want about ARod’s psyche and you can’t possibly challenge it because you can’t prove I’m wrong.

      In a related story, Barack Obama is a huge communist and he’s working to destroy our country from the inside. PROVE THAT HE’S NOT, I DARE YOU!!!!!

      • JP

        And the world is one large spreadsheet and the only credible, verifiable, interpretable forms of interpersonal communications are emails, text messages, and blog posts, and it is completely unacceptable to discuss anything non-quantitative.

        Who said our interpretatations of ARod’s emotions are “unquestionable?” You utterly dismiss non-quantitative observations, which seems to me to be a rather intellectually dishonest tactic.

        And the notion that statistical quantities prove every point you suggest they do is also a tenuous one. The numbers are often illusions, too; people are just too intimidated by them to challenge them.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          The problem is not having or using anecdotal evidence. The problem is basing the entire crux of your argument on anecdotal evidence, because it’s way, way, way more flawed and way, way, way less defensible than empirical evidence.

          This debate isn’t on whether or not ARod taking a walk is good. Everybody agrees that it is. All the anti-ARod crowd in this thread is basing their argument on the emotional conjecture that ARod WANTED to take a walk instead of trying to get a hit, or was somehow RELIEVED to take a walk so that he wouldn’t have the pressure of trying to get a hit, and that’s fucking batshit insane, because all you have is a guess into his emotions based largely on your own emotions.

          And your “spreadsheet” meme is useless here. You’ll note I never once referred to a single stat or metric throughout this thread, other that to point out the insanity of the anti-ARod positions in that whether the stats are for or against him, he’s always somehow to blame.

          • JP

            My comments were in reply to the aggregate of pro-ARod opinions. The “too happy to get that walk” comment, at least as I would embrace it, is not to be taken literally. I do not believe he “wanted” to get a walk. A more accurate term I might use was that he seemed “relieved” to have gotten the walk. In other words, he is in such an awful state right now, and he knows it, that he is actually relieved that he escaped an important at bat without a total failure.

            This is not what I want to see out of my star player.

            When you’re making a judgement on the state of a ball player – their mental/emotional state – there isn’t really anything other than anecdotes, non-quanititative stuff, on which to base an argument. But you find a way to dismiss them because they are “unquantifiable.”

  • wayne’s world

    Watching on tv, Arod definitely looked happy to get that walk. And he barely mananged to check his swing on a bad pitch. Could have just easily been a strikeout. And he swung at at least one terrible pitch earlier in the at bat. He totally failed in his job at that point. He looked lost at the plate and was just relieved to get out of there. In fact, he is lost at the plate.

    I suspect the reason they didn’t send him is that they don’t want him running with that bad hip.

    • MattG

      I agree with all of this. Rodriguez is not getting it done right now. But he did with that at bat what he could, and he didn’t make the 26th out. Good job.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      You know why he was “happy” to get that walk? BECAUSE HE THEN REPRESENTED THE WINNING RUN.

  • Tim

    Getting the winning run on base is hardly a failure. Even when it’s explained for you guys you still don’t understand! It’s like talking to 9 year olds.

    Do you guys remember last week in Boston when A-Rod put the Yankees ahead 3-1 with that “clutch” hit? Of course not. You just use this one instance where he didn’t even make an out to bash him. Clueless.

    • YankeeScribe

      A-Rod is supposed to get a hit in every at-bat because he makes 27 mil per year.

      I wonder if he ever regrets becoming the highest paid player in baseball?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        He’s supposed to hit a 4 run homer in every at bat, even if the bases are empty.

        Since he makes 27M, every time he makes an out, I demand that he personally apologize to me.

        Sincerely,
        21st Century Yankee Fans

        • JP

          Which 21st Century Yankee Fans? Not the ones in this thread, that’s for sure.

          I prefer 5 run homers, but would havge been happy with a fly ball last night.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Since the FB didn’t happen, were you unhappy A-Rod walked?

            • JP

              There are degrees of unhappy. Obviously, I was less unhappy with the walk than I would have been with an out.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Then why are you complaining about it? Rodriguez kept the game going, Cano ended it. Where’s the ire there?

                • JP

                  When every discussion boils down to something numeric like calculating “win expectancy,” there really isn’t much to debate, is there? How interesting is it to calculate percentages and “solve” the problem? Those weren’t dice rolls, those were real guys playing a game. It’s ok to look beyond numbers, or to even ignore them, sometimes.

                  I’m interested in Ben’s Dad’s original points, that the guy seemed relieved to have walked and “avoided” failure, and that, perhaps against the percentages, it might be reasonable to ask or expect your star player to bring the run home, or at the very least make an out trying.

    • Jamal G.

      Do you guys remember last week in Boston when A-Rod put the Yankees ahead 3-1 with that “clutch” hit?

      Dude, be careful, the MSM might rush into your house and take you away V For Vendetta style.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Do you guys remember last week in Boston when A-Rod put the Yankees ahead 3-1 with that “clutch” hit?

        That was last week. This is this week. Since ARod didn’t have a huge hit here, he’s worthy of my scorn. ARod must hit a game winning hit in every single game winning hit opportunity. All of them. Anything less is a traveshamockery.

  • DrHarry

    I just don’t see why everyone in the batting order is not drilled in bunting. I don’t care what the player’s BA is, if the tying run is on third with less than two out and you’re in the bottom of the 9th… Bunt him in.

    I can only presume that everyone is not adept at the bunt. In hwich case, shame on the coaching staff and the manager.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Because bunting with your 3-7 hitters is probably really dumb. Actually, it is really dumb.

    • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

      I also don’t see where the belief that a squeeze is a high percentage play comes from. There is absolutely no garuantee of a squeeze working no matter the skill of the bunter.

  • Rick in Boston

    Can we just facepalm this entire thread, cause I’ve done it just sitting here ready some of the arguments.

    Like Ben said in the OP “…the Yanks had a better to chance to win after A-Rod’s at-bat than before it.” It’s not like A-Rod went up looking to walk – he just didn’t get pitches to hit. Why was he looking happy? Maybe it’s because that checked swing could have gone against him and then it would be two outs.

    The loss is not on A-Rod’s performance in that at bat.

    • MattG

      The should change the rules when Rodriguez hits–to pickup softball rules. No balls or walks, three swings.

  • claybeez

    Anyway to get some numbers on what #4 hitters/3-4-5 hitters, A-Rod comps, MVP’s/Top MVP Vote Getters, or some relevant group typically produce in similar situations? Just an idea, maybe a useless one. I’m no statistician.

  • KayGee

    The one thing I do not understand is how Cano is praised for a “stellar” at bat while A-Rod is basically considered to have failed. Cano fouled off A NUMBER of very, very hittable pitches in the same location. He was in the same position as A-Rod…hit a fly ball and the game is tied. Sure, A-rod could have put a charge in that pitch he fouled off, but Cano had even more opportunities to come through and ended up doing the worst thing possible. A-Rod put himself in a position to win the game (winning run on 1st). I do not understand how the blame shifts to A-Rod when Cano is the biggest culprit of all. I am no A-Rod lover, not by any stretch of the imagination, but this is just unfair.
    I have long been screaming for Cano to be removed from the 5 hole and have him replaced by Posada. Canos numbers take a severe turn for the worst with RISP, RISP with 2 outs, and the bases loaded. He is not selective enough or a good enough situational hitter to hit in this spot. It belongs to Posada. Cano is a table setter, not an RBI machine.

  • MikeD

    A-Rod improved the team’s chance of winning by walking. Cano hit into a double-play by swinging at a bad pitch. It’s that’s simple.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    This thread is a mess so I’m just going to chime in here at the bottom. A-Rod did his job and got the winning run on base. Everyone seems to forget that the infield was in and a ground ball means either a) Gardner is dead at the plate, or b) Gardner has to hold and A-Rod is out. Everything was down in the zone, what was he expected to lift?

    As far as A-Rod being “happy” to get the walk, that’s just retarded. You have no idea how Alex feels.

  • Dan Hyman

    I know Ben and I know Ben’s dad. They are both men of great character. As far as A-Rod is concerned, he is an unclutch stat-padding bum. We all know that Scott Brosius, Luis Sojo, Andy Fox, Mike Aldrete, Homer Bush, Clay Bellinger, or anyone else who has manned the hot corner for the Yanks over the years would have gotten the run home.

    Kidding! But seriously, please don’t blame A-Rod, he had good AB. A walk may not be quite as good as a hit there, but it’s certainly better than swinging at ball 4 and popping up to the second baseman. I mean no team has ever won doing something like that

    • YankeeScribe

      “As far as A-Rod is concerned, he is an unclutch stat-padding bum. We all know that Scott Brosius, Luis Sojo, Andy Fox, Mike Aldrete, Homer Bush, Clay Bellinger, or anyone else who has manned the hot corner for the Yanks over the years would have gotten the run home.”

      Don’t forget about Aaron “f*cking” Boone! Sadly, there are far too many Yankee fans who actually believe that part of your post…

  • Val

    Have y’all been watching since 04? He’s a choke artist. What’s the shock?

  • ken

    i just wish that alex would have been running every time after there were 2 strikes… he could have done more to stay out of the double play.

  • matthagggs

    Arod brings the comments. Always.

    None of this has anything to do with last night’s walk.

    What I don’t get about the staunch Arod defenders is how they automatically assume those that question his ability in pressure situations are predisposed to not liking him and therefore anything he does will never be good enough. Someone above said Ben’s father had a “predetermined aversion” to Arod, which was quickly shot down. I want to like the guy. I want to look in the on deck circle with Tex batting and go “nice”. But I can’t. We can’t. Most of the time I say “crap”. Like when the Mets walked Tex to get to him.

    I complain about the guy all the time, but I don’t want to. He is one of the best hitters of all time, but he is less than that in pressure situations. Yankee fans should not be hammered for finding this disappointing. This is not a situation unique to Arod. It was the same way for Clemens, who rarely pitched his best when the games mattered the most.

    Arod doesn’t have to come through all the time, but he has to come through more often. He felt the love here a few summers ago. MVP chants, curtain calls, the whole nine. Then he crapped out in the playoffs and it all got wiped away. We want to like him. We like hitters that smash the ball, regardless of what they say or do off the field – check our history.

    How much worse would this board be if Luis Castillo caught the ball?

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Reading threads like this for the next 8 years is gonna be fun.

    NOT.

  • Jake K.

    You’re stupid.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

    Aaaand warnings for both of you.

  • Jake K.

    Fine, but I was taking one for the team there. Why would someone come to this blog to insult someone’s parents? Seriously, who does that?