A meaning for these meaningless games


(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Now that Joe and I got what we had to say about The Collapse off our chests, it’s time to turn our attention back to the Yankees. These last two games against Tampa mean nothing to them in the grand scheme of things, and the only stuff left to address are the margins of the playoff roster, the backup catcher situation and the last one or two arms in the bullpen. And then there’s Alex Rodriguez.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, A-Rod has developed a bit of an injury problem since signing his massive, so ugly I don’t even want to cite the numbers contract after the 2007 season. First came the quad strain in 2008, then the hip in 2009, then the calf in 2010, and this year it was both a knee and a thumb. Alex hasn’t played more than 138 games in any of the last three seasons, and he sure as heck won’t get there this year.

All the missed time hurts not only because A-Rod is out of the lineup, but also because he’s typically been a slow starter once he does rejoin the team. Following that storybook first-pitch homer after his hip surgery, A-Rod had just two hits (both singles) in his next 29 plate appearances. The calf strain limited him to a .200/.250/.467 batting line over a 64 PA stretch. Since coming back from the knee surgery, he’s hit just .197/.338/.364 in 80 PA, but that includes all the time he was hampered with the thumb problem.

“I never get into results,” said A-Rod on Monday. “It’s more about balance and plate discipline. I feel I’m right on schedule.” Hitting coach Kevin Long acknowledged that Alex’s “timing is off,” adding that they are working on his leg kick, among other stuff.

All we’ve talked about for the last week or two is rest, getting these players off their feet a little bit after the six-month regular season and before the playoffs begin. Well A-Rod has already had a ton of rest in the second half between the knee and thumb issues. There are only two games left in the regular season, and it’s probably not the worst thing in the world for the Yankees to let their cleanup hitter play all nine innings in both games. Rodriguez can use the at-bats, so these last meaningless games don’t have to be completely useless for him.

Categories : Offense


  1. theyankeewarrior says:

    C’mon Alex, think October 2009. October 2009. October 2009.

    Be the ball.

  2. Tiny Tim says:

    The meaning of these last two ballgames is to lose them so that the Sox are at best forced to play in a one game playoff. That’s all we should be concerned with here. Arod isn’t going to get some magic potion in these two games that allows him to have a great postseason.

  3. Tipsie says:

    A poll question: Does Alex hit a meaningful HR at any time in the 2011 post-season?

  4. PhillyMatt says:

    Is there any scenario in the playoffs where he is not in the 4 hole in the lineup?

  5. CountryClub says:

    He DH’d last night. So he can play the field tonight and DH again tomorrow. That way he plays in all 3 games and still gets some rest.

    • MannyGeee says:

      there is no need for this to happen. he should be DHing for the rest of the reg season. Let Montero catch his normal DH games.

  6. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    It seems to me, although I have no specific data, just observation, that all year he has been hitting too many ground balls to third or short just as Jeter was before his injury. You do not see that opposite field power as in previous years. Maybe he is getting old.

  7. Cuso says:

    Shoot, I say bat him second these next two games if you really want get him some ABs.

    He’ll probably get some fastballs too.

  8. BK2ATL says:

    We will need A-Rod hitting effectively in the coming series. Tex hasn’t put together a consistent streak of scorching the ball in quite a while. Too many pop ups. Granderson hasn’t done much lately. Cano has been absolutely carrying the middle of the lineup for the past few weeks, in his typical late season hot streak form. Montero provides some lower part of the batting order spark. We will need A-Rod to also step up and provide quality at-bats.

    If we can’t beat an ace like Verlander or Texas’ guy Wilson, then it would be best to make them work with long pitch counts each at-bat. The ultimate goal would be to neutralize the aces, and get into their bullpens early, then have our way with them.

    Where’s that 1927 Yankees comparison article again??? I could never get enough of that. Talk about winning the WS in January.

    On another note, I’m so glad that Girardi doesn’t have to match wits (or binder) with Scioscia this postseason.

  9. Monteroisdinero says:

    Big worry with Alex. His bat is nothing near what we need/have come to expect. His throws to first have become a bit of an adventure as well.

    A hot streak would be so nice.

    He’s had plenty of rest so if he sucks in the post season, fatigue will not be an excuse. it will just be lingering injuries, or a fading superstar.

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      A hot streak would be so nice.

      Based on what the article says, at least he’s working with Long and Alex seems to be a good student, making adjustments where necessary to get himself back on track. When he’s on, he’s scary!

  10. Foghorn Leghorn says:

    if Arod doesn’t hit 14 hrs and knock in 38 runs in these next two games he is a bust.

  11. LiterallyFigurative says:

    The interesting thing to me when it comes to A-Rod is this:

    Does it make more sense to have Cano protecting him, or to have him protecting Cano?

    They are both capable of dominating lefties and righties, and have the gap to gap power that Grandy and Tex lack. I don’t think any manager wants to see Cano or Alex with no place to put them.

    But who right now warrants the roll of the protected, and who is the protector? Cano has had the better year (two years really), but Alex has the better resume.

  12. MannyGeee says:

    funny how 600 PLUS homeruns and he is still tinkering with his swing. not bad, just…. funny.

    But as a wise man once told me, try as you might Suzyn….

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      try as you might Suzyn….

      What??? What??? I’m hanging on the edge my seat waiting for that next line to answer this question that has been on my mind for years!! :-)

  13. Monteroisdinero says:

    In summary, let us hope ARod doesn’t strike out to end our 2011 season as he did in 2010.

  14. Jesse says:

    Hahahahaha Both the Racist and Varitek are out for the Sawx and Ryan Lavahhhhhhhnway is catching. Also, Jed Lowrie is batting cleanup! In the team’s most important game they have Lowrie batting cleanup, and Eric Bedard is on the mound. What’s the over/under on innings pitched for him? 2 2/3??? Priceless.

    • Dave B says:

      I just saw this lineup on LoHud! Crawford is batting 8th reminding me of Torre’s A-Rod debacle in the playoffs. Tito or Epstein appear to be pushing the panic button at exactly the wrong time. Unbelievable.

      • BK2ATL says:

        Mark my words here. Carl Crawford will be the starting LF in the All Star game in 2012. He’s a great player, great team player willing to sacrifice for the better of the team, and a class act all-around. He’s just having a bad, injury-filled year in a new city.

        They will be eating those words this time next year. The kid is very talented and can take over games defensively and offensively when right. That he’s not even trying to steal bases this month should clue even the most clueless Sox fan, which there are many, that Crawford is simply playing while hurt.

        In the meanwhile, while he and they are down, we can get our kicks in.

        • Dave B says:

          I totally agree with you — he is a great player and just a shock that they are shaking the lineup with he and putting a raw catcher in one of the biggest games of the year. What do you think the team thinks of these moves? My guess is that they think Francona is saying these guys are chokers.

          • BK2ATL says:

            Not sure what to think of these moves. Desperation? Panic? Lack of faith? Job’s on the line?

            Either way, they got 2 games to either win, lose or tie for…the wild card. Unless they miraculously go on to win the WS, this season would be considered a major fail, considering all of the hype bestowed upon this team and its mgmt this year.

            Who do you get rid of when they choke? Ortiz? Paplebon? Dice-K? Wakefield? Varitek/Salty? Scutaro? Lowrie? Drew?

            Or, Theo and/or Francona, as is making the rounds.

            • Jesse says:

              Keep Ortiz, Papelbon, Varitek and Salty, and either Lowrie or Scutaro, or maybe keep both since Youkilis always seems to get injured. But they do have Aviles though…Or they can bring up Will Middlebrooks next year, he’s just another one of those Red Sox prospects that are going to be inducted into the 2035 HOF. But lose Wakefield and Drew.

        • Jesse says:

          I hate to admit it, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that happens. He’s probably the most athletic player in baseball, and I just listened to Peter Gammons on Francesa’s show and he said Crawford is fried mentally. He just needs a full off-season to get everything out of his head. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong for Crawford this year. Even defensively he’s taken a big step back. Even though he plays in Boston a small part of me feels sorry for him. He was one of the most exciting and funnest players to watch in all of baseball.

          • Nuke LaDoosh says:

            At the end of the day, he signed a 7 year deal and everyone knows that these long term deals for players at his age means you overpay for the last couple of years of the contract (See Rod,A). Now, they are lucky to get 3 years out of that deal of Real Value. Year 1, 5, 6 and 7 will probably all be overpay years.

            • Dave B says:

              If the Yankees were in free-fall, this is like Girardi plugging in Romine and batting Grandy 9th. I think we should be happy that Girardi wouldn’t pull any of this crap on the Yankees.

  15. Nuke LaDoosh says:

    LoHud has Yankee lineup posted. Cano 3. Alex 4. Tex 5. Amen.

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