October 10, 2012 in Sports

Rodriguez’s struggles hurt Yankees

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Five strikeouts in nine playoff at-bats has been a downer for Alex Rodriguez.
(Full-size photo)

For all of his home runs, All-Star accolades and huge salaries, Alex Rodriguez finds himself in a most familiar spot this season.

A-Rod is an October lightning rod.

With every swing and miss, memories of his amazing run during the New York Yankees’ championship season in 2009 fade even further. Instead, fans are becoming more and more vocal, calling for manager Joe Girardi to drop him from the No. 3 spot in the lineup.

Rodriguez struck out to end the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Game 2 of their division series Monday night, leaving the best-of-5 matchup tied at 1.

He’s fanned plenty of times – five in all while going 1 for 9 so far in the series.

“I feel fine at the plate,” Rodriguez said after the loss. “I’ve just got to finish at-bats. I’m getting good swings.”

He’ll have the chance to turn things around tonight when the series shifts to the Bronx for Game 3. Hiroki Kuroda (16-11) starts for New York against Miguel Gonzalez (9-4), a rookie right-hander who has 17 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings against the Yankees in two starts.

“I think that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this three-game series, said manager Joe Girardi. “Nothing that we do will be something that is just a knee-jerk reaction,” Girardi said. “The great thing about this is I have a great group of guys that’s very unselfish, and they really want to win.”

Always protective of his players, Girardi might be choosing to coddle Rodriguez after watching Joe Torre cause a stir in 2006 by dropping the 14-time All-Star to eighth in the Yankees order against the Detroit Tigers in the first round.

“Sometimes it’s just not as easy as just writing a name or taking a guy out, a pitcher out. You have to think about the emotional part,” Girardi said. “You always have to think about that as a manager.”

Clearing the bases

The St. Louis Cardinals removed Jaime Garcia from their N.L. division series roster, a day after he lasted only two innings in his Game 2 start because of an ailing shoulder. He’ll be replaced by rookie right-hander Shelby Miller … The contracts of Colorado Rockies hitting instructor Carney Lansford and third-base coach Rich Dauer weren’t renewed in the wake of manager Jim Tracy’s unexpected resignation over the weekend.

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