Alex Rodriguez failed to hit for the New York Yankees in the AL championship series.
He wasn’t alone.
None of his teammates produced at the plate, and now New York’s season is over.
The slugging Yankees, who set a team record for homers and finished second in baseball in runs scored, were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the AL championship series, losing 8-1 in Game 4 on Thursday.
“You never expect this,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a terrible way for the season to end.”
A-Rod got all the attention, being benched three times in this postseason, but New York did not get it done up and down the lineup – Raul Ibanez being an exception – during a series in which it failed to lead once.
“The one thing I don’t want to focus on is Alex, in a sense, because it wasn’t just him that didn’t hit,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You know, if the other guys hit, one guy’s struggles aren’t going to show as much.”
Rodriguez hit .120 (3 for 25) with no RBIs in the postseason, including going 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers and 1 for 9 against the Tigers.
He has $114 million and five years remaining on his contract – and a no-trade clause – and said he expects to be back with the Yankees next season.
“I love New York City and everything about being a Yankee,” he said. “The highs are very high and the lows are extremely low. There’s no question the last two weeks were difficult, not just on me but on all my teammates.”
Several of Rodriguez’s teammates were worse with a bat in their hands in the postseason.
Robinson Cano was at .075 (3 for 40) with no home runs, Curtis Granderson .100 (3 for 30) with 16 strikeouts, Nick Swisher .167 (5 for 30) with two RBIs and Russell Martin .161 (5 for 31) with one RBI. Eric Chavez was 0 for 16 with eight strikeouts.
Girardi seemed to be the most puzzled by Cano’s struggles, which included getting only one hit in 18 at-bats against the Tigers and enduring a postseason-record 0-for-29 skid that began against Baltimore in the division series.
“That one is kind of baffling for me because we have seen the type of hitter that Robby Cano is,” Girardi said.
The only records the Yankees set this October were for futility.
They batted .188 (60 for 320), a low for seven games in the postseason, according to STATS LLC., and scored just 22 runs – six against Detroit.
And, New York joined the 1984 Kansas City Royals as the only teams to play a league championship series without leading a game. Coincidently, the Tigers were the team that dominated Kansas City en route to their last World Series title.
After Ibanez hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 1 to tie, it was all downhill for the Yankees.
They lost Shortstop Derek Jeter to a broken ankle that will keep him out until spring training in the 12th inning of the opener, and looked lost after that.
As if New York’s problems at the plate weren’t enough, ace CC Sabathia had an awful performance when his team needed him most and the Yankees played poorly defensively – especially reliable first baseman Mark Teixeira – in their last game of the year.
Sabathia lasted just 3 2-3 innings because the Tigers were teeing off on him with 11 hits, six runs – five earned – and striking out just three times.
“It’s embarrassing to me to come out and not be able to give our team a chance to win,” he said. “I pride myself on trying to give us a chance and I didn’t do that tonight.”