A-Rod back in lineup, batting sixth
Yes, Alex Rodriguez was in the starting lineup for Saturday night’s ALCS opener against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium. He was not batting third or fourth but rather sixth.
Some media types seemed surprised. Much was made in the press about the fact that Detroit does not have a lefthander in its rotation. Rodriguez struggled against righthanders in the AL Division Series against the Orioles (0-for-11, nine strikeouts), but did anyone really think A-Rod was not going to start any of the games against the Tigers?
Listen, Alex Rodriguez is the Yankees’ regular third baseman. He is going to play. Just because he got pinch-hit for two games in a row and was out of the lineup the next game does not mean he is going to sit on the bench for the rest of his time with the Yankees, which just happens to be another five more years.
A-Rod is going through a rough stretch, but, remember, a couple of years ago, the same sort of stuff was being said and written about Derek Jeter, and look at how he turned his career around at the age of 38? Everybody just needs to relax and let Rodriguez work himself out of this rut.
The only roster change between the ALDS and the ALCS for the Yankees was the addition of a 12th pitcher. Cody Eppley was added to the staff, which was a good move. It meant a position player had to come off, which turned out to be Eduardo Nunez. Manager Joe Girardi believes Derek Jeter is healthy enough to play shortstop regularly and is comfortable with Jayson Nix as a backup.
Nunez gave the Yankees speed off the bench, but they also have Brett Gardner for that. Besides, now that Mark Teixeira is stealing bases the way he did to build a run in Game 5 of the ALDS, who needs extra speed?