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« Justin Verlander will go deep because Valverde is struggling | Main | David Ortiz has learned to be a home body »
Tuesday
Oct092012

An analytic look at the struggles of Alex Rodriguez

In a press conference yesterday (10/9/2012), Yankee manager Joe Girardi was asked whether he contemplated making lineup changes, which might include Alex Rodriguez, he responded, "Well, I mean, I think that we're going to do whatever it takes to win this three-game series. Nothing that we do will be something that is just a knee-jerk reaction."

Girardi continued, "We know, the great thing about this is I have a great group of guys that's very unselfish, and they really want to win. And that's what we're going to do, what we think is best to win."

One can only assume that the underlying point here is that Girardi and his coaches have to be looking at whether to move Alex Rodriguez out of the number three slot in the batting order. 

A-Rod is once again struggling in the postseason going 1-for-9.

On Monday, Alex came to the plate five times:

10/7/2012 - New York Yankees 7 @ Baltimore Orioles 2
  • Rodriguez called out on strikes vs Jason Hammel (R), Top 1, 1 out, Bases Empty, leading 1-0
    • 2-2 - Strike Out on a 84 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • Rodriguez walks vs Hammel, Top 4, 0 out, Bases Empty, trailing 1-2
    • 3-2 - Walk on a 84 MPH Slider - Low
  • Rodriguez grounds out, shortstop J.J. Hardy to first baseman Mark Reynolds vs Hammel, Top 6, 0 out, Bases Empty, tied 2-2
    • 2-2 - Ground Ball Out on a 92 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  • Rodriguez strikes out swinging vs Darren O'Day (R), Top 7, 2 out, Men on First and Third, tied 2-2
    • 2-2 - Strike Out on a 87 MPH Sinker - Over the Plate
  • Rodriguez strikes out swinging vs Jim Johnson (R), Top 9, 0 out, Men on First and Second, leading 4-2
    • 1-2 - Strike Out on a 94 MPH Four Seamer - Inside

On Tuesday, Alex came to the plate five times

10/8/2012 - New York Yankees 2 @ Baltimore Orioles 3
  • Alex Rodriguez lines into a double play, second baseman Robert Andino to shortstop J.J. Hardy. Derek Jeter doubled off 2nd vs Wei-Yin Chen (L), Top 1, 0 out, Men on First and Second, tied 0-0
    • 2-2 - Line Drive Double Play on a 92 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  • Rodriguez singles on a ground ball to left fielder Nate McLouth. Ichiro Suzuki to 2nd vs Chen, Top 3, 2 out, Man on First, leading 1-0
    • 0-0 - Ground Ball Single on a 91 MPH Four Seamer - Low
  • Rodriguez flies out to center fielder Adam Jones vs Chen, Top 5, 1 out, Bases Empty, trailing 1-2
    • 0-0 - Fly Ball Out on a 91 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  • Rodriguez strikes out swinging. Suzuki steals (1) 2nd base vs Darren O'Day (R), Top 7, 1 out, Man on First, trailing 2-3
    • 3-2 - Strike Out on a 78 MPH Slider - Outside
  • Rodriguez strikes out swinging vs Jim Johnson (R), Top 9, 2 out, Bases Empty, trailing 2-3
    • 3-2 - Strike Out on a 96 MPH Two Seamer - Low

Here's where the 47 pitches have gone to Rodriguez in the first two games:

A-Rod, as you read above, has struck out five-of-nine at bats.

Here are the 28 strikes Rodriguez has seen (includes fair ball contact):

Of these strikes, A-Rod has swung at 23 pitches and missed on 11 (he also put four in play - two grounders, one fly, and one line drive).

Overall:

  • 20 of the pitches were in the strike zone
  • 28 were fastballs, of which he swung at 15 of them and missed 6
  • 12 were sliders, of which he swung at 4 and missed three, but 7 were for strikes.

Objectively, even A-Rod detractors would have to admit that Rodriguez has looked pretty good against the Orioles starting pitchers. But, objectively even Rodriguez supporters have to admit that he has looked awful against the O's bullpen and that is when the Yankees need him to perform: late in the game, with runners on base, and when the game is on the line.

But this postseason is simply an extension of how he hit this regular season:

 

  • .230 with runners in scoring position
  • .135 RISP w/2 outs
  • .309 the first time he faced a starting pitcher
  • .368 the second time he faced a starting pitcher
  • .212 the first time he faced a relief pitcher

 

A-Rod was the number three batter in 68 starts and clean-up in 50 starts. As a frames of reference, Curtis Granderson led off in eight games, batted second in 90 games, fifth in 12 games, sixth in 32 games, 7th in eight games, and third and fourth in three other games.  And Mark Teixeira started in six different slots in the batting order.

Joe Girardi has to be contemplating making changes and while he may not do it when lefty Joe Saunders starts, I would be surprised not to see Granderson, Ichiro, and Ibanez playing prominent roles in a revamped lineup particularly if A-Rod's 0-6 with five whiffs expands.

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