Today's Loss: All A-Rod's Fault!
Think I'm kidding? No, I have proof.
Now remember kids, you have to set the stage, mention how he could be a hero but fails, be sure to bring up his salary, and at least once mention the phrase "True Yankee."
A-Rod goes 0-for-4 with 3 Ks as Yankees drop Game 2 to Tigers
By IRA PODELL, AP Sports Writer
October 5, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez strode to the plate and the Yankee Stadium fans cheered as one, imploring him to deliver that elusive clutch hit.
Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.
Another missed chance for baseball's $25 million man.
Rodriguez stood at the plate and removed his batting gloves after being frozen on Justin Verlander's curveball Thursday. There were no boos, just groans when the New York Yankees' early threat ended with a whimper.
"It's hard to put the hammer down in the first inning," Rodriguez said, "but a hit there would've been nice."
The vaunted Yankees' offense put up runs later, but not enough to put away the Tigers, who evened the best-of-five AL playoff series with a 4-3 victory.
Rodriguez went 0-for-4, including two other strikeouts that ended the fifth and eighth innings. By the time his day was finished, boos were raining down.
"I didn't like him that well," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said.
Rodriguez shook his head and flipped away his bat and helmet in further frustration with each successive out. He blocked out the hooting fans, he said.
"I don't even hear them," Rodriguez said. "I am so focused on what I have to do on the field."
In that initial at-bat, A-Rod fouled back Verlander's second pitch. Rodriguez felt that was the one that got away.
"I had some good pitches to hit," he said. "I didn't get it done, and you have to move on."
Try as he might to prove he is a true Yankee with championship mettle, his numbers continue to show otherwise. Rodriguez is 1-for-8 in the two games against Detroit and 5-for-40 in his last 11 postseason games. A two-time MVP and 10-time All-Star, he has gone 10 straight playoff contests without an RBI.
"The fact is, last October was bad. But this is not over," he said.
A-Rod went a quiet 1-for-4 with a strikeout in New York's series-opening 8-4 win on Tuesday night. He hit the ball hard, even on his outs, but had nothing to show for it.
Instead, he felt the shadow from shortstop envelop him, as it always seems to do. Derek Jeter put up a 5-for-5 night in the opener and heard all the chants of "M-V-P," the very award Rodriguez won last season.
Even after his first-inning failure Thursday, the crowd didn't turn on the third baseman.
Rodriguez was met by lesser cheers for his next at-bat leading off the fourth. The Yankees were down by a run when Rodriguez blooped a ball to shallow left. Just when it seemed a rally would start, Craig Monroe made a sliding catch to send him back to the dugout.
It turned out to be a three-run inning for New York, but Rodriguez was just a spectator to the theatrics.
Verlander caught him looking again in the fifth. Joel Zumaya got him to wave at a 1-2 pitch in the eighth.
"A-Rod's a great hitter and when a great hitter comes up with me on the mound, I don't back down from him," Zumaya said. "A-Rod could have easily took one of my balls 500 feet if he would have connected."
Rodriguez's best moment came in the field during Detroit's go-ahead uprising in the seventh. Playing in to try to cut off an insurance run, Rodriguez snared a liner off the bat of Placido Polanco and nearly doubled Curtis Granderson off third with a lunge with his glove at the bag.
"I was surprised I couldn't get there," Rodriguez said. "He got back pretty quickly."
Just short was again the story at the end of this day. When it was done, Rodriguez was back in his funk and feeling the chill on a warm October day.
"My chin is up," he said. "My chin isn't going anywhere."
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:44 PM