Friday, October 22, 2010

Lupica to A-Rod: Step Up

From Mike Lupica:
The Yankees showed up on Wednesday in Game 5, they did, hundred percent. Now they have to do it again in Texas, or they become another big, bad Yankee team of this decade that got hit somewhere before the World Series and never recovered.

You know who is supposed to show up Friday night for Game 6? Alex Rodriguez. So far he has three hits in the series and only one of them - two-RBI single that Michael Young should have made a play on, eighth inning of Game 1 - has mattered. There have been times when he seemed perfectly happy to take a walk, leave it to Cano when Cano was still hitting behind him.

This game Friday night, then in Game 7 if the Yankees make it, would be a good time for A-Rod to remind us that October and November of 2009 actually happened.

Cano isn't supposed to have to carry this offense on his own. Carrying an offense is supposed to be Rodriguez's job description. Rodriguez got his numbers this season, the way he always does in the end, got to 30 home runs and 125 RBI, even hitting just .270. Friday night he is the one who's supposed to hit the ball over the fence, do something to get his team to Cliff Lee. This is the night when big Yankees show up, make the kind of swing A-Rod made against the Twins in the last postseason, the Angels, the Phillies.

It is a good thing he did knock in those two runs in the Game 1 rally, or this October would remind people, exactly, of the ones when he looked like the easiest out on the team.

He's not the only one in the order who hasn't shown enough stick. Derek Jeter has hits, but has struck out six times. Mark Teixeira was 0-for-14 before he got hurt. Nick Swisher is .105. Maybe the home run that Swisher hit in Game 5 is the start of something for him. He is another Yankee who has to know that you are ultimately judged around here on how you play when the team is trying to get those 11 wins in the postseason that Reggie Jackson is always talking about.

But the one home run that Swisher has is one more than Rodriguez has. Cano has four. Josh Hamilton has four. Rodriguez still hasn't hit one out. Friday night would be a good time.

When Ron Washington was asked about the way Cano and Hamilton have gotten after it, almost like they have gotten after each other, the Rangers' manager said, "Those two guys are two guys who are difference makers." The difference maker for the Yankees one year ago was Rodriguez. Time for him to do it again.
If the Yankees don't move on to the World Series it will not be A-Rod's fault. That said, this is one of those rare occasions when I agree with Lupica. It is time for A-Rod--along with a few others--to step up their game and get this team back to the Fall Classic. Cano can't and shouldn't have to do it all himself.

blog comments powered by Disqus