Alex Rodriguez and 5 Yankees Who Cost Team World Series in 2011
After performing well enough down the stretch to earn a spot on the postseason roster, Jorge Posada hit .429 in the ALDS. You certainly can't pin the series loss on him—other than his base-running blunder in Game 1, which the Yankees won anyway, Posada was fantastic.
So if Posada, whose disappointing season made him a prime target for criticism during the playoffs, isn't the goat, who is?
5. Rafael Soriano
It's just so easy to point a finger at Rafael Soriano.
Despite his brilliant effort this series—he allowed just one hit in 4.2 innings—Soriano surrendered the hit that arguably won the series for Detroit.
Brett Gardner's two-run double had just knotted the score at four in Game 3, and Soriano, who relieved Sabathia in the sixth, came out for the seventh.
After popping up Ramon Santiago, Soriano's fastball sailed a bit too far over the plate and Delmon Young ripped it into the right field stands to give Detroit a 5-4 lead, the final score.
In the 23 division series that entered Game 3 tied, the Game 3 winner advanced 19 times. Perhaps Young's homer sealed the Yankees' fate.
4. Nick Swisher
Nick Swisher went yard against Jose Valverde in Game 2, but he will be remembered for hitting .211 this series and striking out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of Game 5 with the Yankees trailing 3-2.
Other than Swisher's Game 2 blast, his other three hits were inconsequential.
3. Mark Teixeira
Mark Teixeira hit just .167 this series. In the Yankees' three losses, the first baseman went 1-for-11—his only hit, a ground-rule double off Doug Fister in Game 5, amounted to nothing.
Yes, he walked with the bases loaded in the seventh inning last night, but the RBI attributed to him for it was his first of the series. Tex was a virtual no-show at the plate.
Tex will always be valuable in the field, but no matter how golden his glove may be, the Yankees' No. 5 hitter can't disappear in the playoffs.
2. CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia, the Yankees' ace, failed to provide in the biggest moment of the season.
After the suspension of Game 1, Sabathia started Game 3 against eventual Cy Young winner Justin Verlander with the series tied at one. In 19 of 23 Division Series that entered Game 3 tied, the winner moved on to take the series.
The Yankees attacked Verlander early, handing their ace a 2-0 lead before he even took the mound. However, Sabathia wasn't zoned in from the start.
Blame it on the umpire if you want, but Sabathia walked four batters in the first two innings, using two double plays to escape unscathed.
In the third, Sabathia's luck began to fade as the Tigers tied the score on a series of hits. Again, though, Sabathia used a double play to prevent serious damage.
The Yankees' ace surrendered two more runs before Joe Girardi went to the bullpen with one out in the sixth. In 5.1 innings, Sabathia allowed four runs on seven hits and six walks—he's fortunate to have at least kept the Yankees within striking distance, but that's something you ask of A.J. Burnett, not your ace.
In Game 5, Girardi called on Sabathia for a relief appearance in the fifth, trailing 2-0. Sabathia promptly allowed a double before fanning Don Kelly and Delmon Young. Then, with two outs, Victor Martinez singled in a run.
The rest of the bullpen threw 5.2 innings and allowed three hits. The ace allowed two and a run. Sabathia's run ended up being the difference—the Yankees fell 3-2.
1. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez hit .111 in the ALDS with three RBI and six strikeouts. Two of the runs he produced came on groundouts, on one of which he broke his bat.
In Game 5, when his team needed him the most, Rodriguez couldn't provide.
The third baseman stepped up to the dish with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning of a 3-1 ballgame. He fouled one straight back, and everyone knew that if his bat went through the zone just half an inch higher A-Rod could have been the hero. Instead, he whiffed.
All he needed to do was lift one in the air to drive in a run—he didn't even need to record a hit.
In the ninth inning, Jose Valverde had already retired Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano before Rodriguez stepped into the box. Rodriguez didn't need to homer—all the Yankees needed was a baserunner.
To the surprise of nobody, A-Rod struck out. At least he swung this time.