After Wednesday night's loss to the Nationals, Alex Rodriguez is hitting .157 in June. His OPS is a pedestrian 642 and he's hit just two home runs after slamming seven in his first month back from the disabled list. As you'd imagine, the fans at Yankee Stadium are less than thrilled with those developments and have been making their voices heard whenever A-Rod makes an out at home.
That's nothing to get too upset about. Such is life for a struggling superstar player, and Rodriguez is struggling mightily. At least he deserves brickbats for the way he's swinging the bat. Less deserved are the suggestions on Thursday that he deserves scorn for taking a walk with a runner on third base in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game.
A-Rod's detractors would have you believe that a real winner, a true Yankee, would have swung at a bad pitch and driven in the run. Peace would have reigned in the valley, the rain clouds would lift and New York would embrace him with open arms. And, to an extent, they're right. If A-Rod drives in Brett Gardner everyone would be happy.
The Yankees had a better chance of winning the game after Rodriguez walked. As good a chance as if he'd gotten a hit? Of course not, but a much better chance than if he'd made an out. It's hard to think of many players who get criticized for helping their teams win games.
What are those people saying if Rodriguez swings at a bad pitch and popped out to the second baseman? Or if he'd chases a couple of pitches out of the zone and strikes out? We can't know exactly which expletive they'd use in close proximity to A-Rod's name, but we can assume that they wouldn't be praising A-Rod for trying to win the game. There'd be much talk about him trying to do too much and how he shouldn't be expanding his strike zone to try and win the game all by himself.
Compare that to Robinson Cano's at-bat that led to the game-ending double play. Cano's been praised for having a tremendous at-bat before finally succumbing to Mike MacDougal. Tremendous at-bats end with a player making something positive happened. Cano certainly battled, but the game was over either way. Swap Cano and A-Rod and are the reactions are the same?
The second oldest meme in New York is saying that Rodriguez gets held to a different standard. The oldest is that there's no better guess than the second one. Both of them apply here.