Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’
When I made the bold prediction a couple months ago that the New York Yankees would have a great season despite all of the injuries to their lineup, going as far as to say they’ll make the playoffs, I didn’t have many people behind me, agreeing with my opinion. And that’s fine, I’m used to it. But now I get the pleasure of early-season bragging rights, as the Yankees have hung in there, sitting atop the American League East.
Though there’s still a lot of the season left, I think things will only go up from here.
Let me point out that while I predicted a playoff run, I was going more on a wild card spot, rather than a division title, getting them in. I never saw them above second or third place throughout the season. But now, with them sitting in first place, combined with Curtis Granderson expected to return any day, I could see the Yankees extending their lead even further; especially once Mark Teixeira returns next month.
What it’s come down to for the Yankees is the stepping up of every single player in the lineup. Not just the key fixtures, in Robinson Cano, Ichiro Suzuki and even Brett Gardner, but the newcomers in Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner. Everyone up and down the lineup has been doing a great job of not worrying about who they’re missing and just going out and playing great baseball–going 16-0 when they score first, so far this season.
The Yankees are certainly being helped out by the other teams in the division, which have been playing fairly poorly as of late–the Red Sox are 4-8 this month–but that’s not to take anything away from them. They’ve been surprisingly good for a surprising long period of time.
But just how good can the Yankees become?
If you ask me, the first month of the season is a sign of things to come. Once the Yankees get back their big bats in Granderson and Teixeira, they’ll get even better, which may seem impossible with the way they’re currently playing. If their pitching rotation can keep on the same pace, though it could always be better, I can fully see the Yankees making the playoffs, as I originally predicted.
Alex Rodriguez is struggling at the moment; there’s no denying that.
Posting a mere batting average of .130 (3-23) so far this postseason, Rodriguez has quickly found himself in an uncomfortable situation. A situation that has subsequently led to an even more trying predicament for Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who for the second straight game regretfully elected to exclude A-rod from the starting lineup. But as many are asking: Is the decision to bench Rodriguez truly the smart one?
That’s the one thing no one can seem to agree on.
“We’re trying to do what’s the best thing to win games”, said Joe Girardi, in response to his decision to bench A-rod. “This is difficult. When I went into the postseason, this is not what I imagined having to do. You thought you’d have a set lineup and you might change it against a right-hander or a left-hander a little bit, but the struggles have been tough. We felt we had to make changes.”
But these “changes” aren’t the correct ones in my opinion. Yes, Rodriguez is performing horribly so far this postseason, but you don’t bench the one player on the team that can make a drastic impact with one swing of the bat; even when it seems they’re completely lost at the plate.
You can’t possibly tell me that Eric Chavez in the lineup makes the Yankees better than with A-rod. Chavez is yet to notch a hit (in 14 at-bats) this postseason. Why would you opt to play him over Rodriguez? It truly baffles me.
Rodriguez had this to say in response to his benching:
“I’m obviously not doing somersaults. I’m not happy about it. Obviously you come to the ballpark feeling that you can help the team win, and when you see your name is not in the lineup, you’re obviously disappointed. You’ve got to just shift to being a cheerleader and also make sure that you’re ready when your number is called.
“….for me, it’s tough”, added Rodriguez. “I’m a competitor, I’ve been that way since I was 5 years old, and I love to compete. I really feel in my heart that anytime I’m in that lineup the team’s a better team, without a question. So we’ll disagree there till the end.
“I’ve played this game for a long time and bottom line is, anytime I’m in any lineup, I think that lineup is better. It has a better chance to win. I feel I can bring that type of impact, and I’m also at any point ready to break through. I thought my at-bats in some of those games got a little bit better. The last two [in Game 3], I hit two rockets. Anytime I’m in the box, the game can change, and everyone knows that.”
Indeed; everyone does know that. Which leads me to question Girardi’s decision.
All it takes is just one hit–one swing of the bat–for Rodriguez to fall back into the groove of things.
Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Admittedly, when he’s struggling like he is, benching him is the easy thing to do; but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do–especially when Rodriguez isn’t the only one having a tough time at the moment. As a team, the Yankees are batting .200 (58-290) so far during the playoffs, and show no signs of improving anytime soon.
All the more reason to give A-rod another shot.
Rodriguez could very well fail, yet again, but he could also surprise the world and get a hit in a big spot. Without him in the lineup, however, no one will ever get the chance to find out.