Let me start by saying that Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest hitters of all-time. However, that does not keep him from being unproductive late in games.
I recently came across an article that defends Rodriguez's late inning failures(http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ys-insideedgearod083108&prov=yhoo&type=lgns). The article points to the fact that Rodriguez had double the amount of 9th inning home runs than anyone else in baseball last year and that the majority of his home runs in a Yankee uniform have come with the Yankees either trailing or tied.
After pulling up Rodriguez's home run log of his 201 home runs with the Yankees, the statistics support the claim that Rodriguez is unproductive in the late innings.
Rodriguez did hit eight 9th inning home runs in 2007 to lead all of the MLB. Three of them put the Yankees ahead (two walk-offs) and one tied the game. He then hit two with the Yankees trailing and two with the Yankees ahead. The two he hit while trailing were with the Yankees trailing by four and by ten. The two he hit while ahead were with the Yankees ahead by one and by four.
When you look at those numbers more closely, it appears that Rodriguez hit only five "meaningful" home runs in the 9th inning.
It is also true that Rodriguez has hit most of his 201 home runs with the Yankees wither trailing or tied (57%). However, we must look at when he hit these home runs.
With the Yankees, Rodriguez has hit 50 home runs that have broken ties. An astounding 34, or 68%, have come in innings 1-3. In contrast, only 4, or 8%, have come from the 7th inning on.
With the Yankees trailing in the 7th inning and beyond, Rodriguez has hit 21 home runs. Of these, 8, or 38%, have either tied the game or given New York the lead. By contrast, 7, or 33%, of these 21 home runs have come with the Yankees trailing by 5 or more runs.
When it comes to hitting home runs, Rodriguez does it better than anyone currently in the game, just please don't call him "clutch".
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