Results tagged ‘ Playoffs ’
After rehabbing a broken ankle for nearly nine months, Derek Jeter received a standing ovation on Thursday, in his first major league plate appearance since October of 2012. Reaching first, in his first at-bat of the game, on an infield single, Jeter showed all of the baseball world what he’s been hoping to show for a long time: His ankle is fully healed.
The Yankees finally have their Captain back.
But it’s going to take a lot more than the return of Jeter, who went 1-4 in his 2013 debut, for the Yankees to turn around what has been a downhill slide as of late. While they won in their first game with Jeter back, he’s not the player he used to be, and they could use even more help.
But help is coming, in the form of Alex Rodriguez, who is currently down in the minors, working his way back from hip surgery. How much help he will provide is yet to be seen, but the Yankees are hopeful that A-Rod can return to even a portion of his former self.
Either way, I’m not counting out the Yankees just yet. I’ve had them making the playoffs since the beginning of the season, despite the majority of baseball fans thinking otherwise. It will be interesting to see how things play out after the All-Star break.
The rosters for the 2013 All-Star game were announced late last week, however, fans around the country have been voting all week long for the player they feel most deserved to receive the final spot for each league.
The candidates for the American League included Joaquin Benoit, Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Tanner Scheppers and Koji Uehara. The National League had Ian Desmond, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence and Yasiel Puig. I was hoping to see David Robertson and Yasiel Puig make it in, but neither did.
It was announced Thursday afternoon that the winners of the All-Star game final vote were Steve Delabar and Freddie Freeman. While I’m not all that upset with either of them getting voted in, I disagree with Freeman over Puig. There’s no player in the major leagues at the moment with more hype around him than Puig. I don’t understand why he didn’t make it in, other than maybe the fact that he’s been in the big leagues for merely a month, but I’m really looking forward to watching the game, nonetheless.
The All-Star game is set to take place on Tuesday, July 16th, at Citi Field.
The original plan for Alex Rodriguez, after undergoing hip surgery on January 16th, was for him to be fully recovered, and ready to play, by the second half of July; August at the latest. That plan may not pan out, however, as in an interview on Friday, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman stated that there’s the possibility Rodriguez could end up missing all of 2013, saying, “I think because [of] the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he’s trying to recover from, you know, there is that chance.”
While Cashman’s comments are worthy of attention, for Yankees fans across the country, I don’t feel they’re worthy of panic. The Yankees have always seemed to be able to find a way to win, most of the time, even when their chances looked poor. Though the Yankees appear to have their backs against the wall, I feel, with or without Rodriguez in the lineup, the Yankees will once again find a way to make it to the playoffs in the coming season.
How deep they make it into the playoffs is yet to be seen.
Looking at the Yankees’ roster, even without Rodriguez, I see a group of players that have the ability to dominate, but it’s going to come down to whether or not they’re able to perform as well as they’re capable of, throughout the entire season. If they let up, even for a few weeks, it’s likely that either the Orioles, or the newly revamped Blue Jays, will pass them up, and never look back. That’s what I feel the Yankees need to be worried about; not losing A-Rod, but losing momentum.
For me, the key player to the Yankees’ success in 2013, as it has been for the past decade, is Derek Jeter. While the looming loss of Rodriguez is a definite blow to the team, the Yankees have a decent replacement for him, in Kevin Youkilis. Though Youkilis doesn’t have the kind of pop that A-Rod possesses, when healthy, Youkilis is just as good, if not slightly better, of a defender than Rodriguez, at the hot corner. The way I see it, right now, the Yankees can survive without Rodriguez, but in the event that Jeter doesn’t return completely healthy, the Yankees, in my mind, are set to have a very disappointing season; for their standards, at least.
As stated, I truly do feel the Yankees have the players they need to make 2013 an outstanding year. While they’ll be without Rodriguez until at least July–with the possibly of losing him for the entire year–the lineup still has enough pop to make the Yankees a great team. Although the offseason, thus far, brought the loss of Nick Swisher to the Indians, and Russell Martin to the Pirates, I don’t feel those two players leaving will hurt the Yankees all that terribly much. Thus, I like the Yankees chances in 2013; especially with a healthy Mariano Rivera.
If, however, the Yankees end up suffering in the coming season, I’m not going to throw all the blame on Alex Rodriguez. Sure, Rodriguez, when healthy, plays a major part in whether or not the Yankees win, but in the end, you have to play with the players you have. And as far as I can see, the Yankees have the players they need to win, and win often.
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.