The Yankees have gone a remarkable 21-3 in games that Alex Rodriguez has not played, so naturally, they’ve now lost two games in a row since his return from the disabled list. What’s more, the two losses have not resulted because of a lack of contribution from the three-time MVP. Over the last two games, Arod has gone 3-7 with a home run and 3 RBIs, but the team has only managed to score three runs in each.
If not for Arod’s herculean 2009 post season in which he carried the Yankees to their 27th World Championship, the last two games might have been cause for ongoing discussion about how the Yankees can’t win with him the lineup. Instead, it has become more of an ironic curiousity.
During the last two YES broadcasts, John Flaherty has opined that there may be a subconscious tendency among players to both step up their game in the absence of a dominant hitter and let down a little when he returns. That doesn’t seem very likely on a team with as many superstars as the Yankees, but it does make for interesting pop sports psychology.
In reality, Arod’s seemingly healthy return bodes well for the Yankees, especially as it looks like the team will need to rely more heavily on its offense to lead the way to another championship. Once derided as a regular season compiler, Rodriguez has deservedly developed a new reputation as a clutch performer and will certainly be the Yankees’ biggest threat in the post season. The Yankees goal between now and then it so make sure their All Star 3B stays well rested and healthy in September because they will need to ride him all the way through October.
Most 100 RBI seasons, Since 1901