No one expected Alex Rodriguez to be some sort of miracle worker.
Even though he was starting to hit OK when he went on the disabled list, the Yankees designated hitter isn’t a young pup anymore and can’t be expected to carry the lineup.
So when he went 0-4 in the Blue Jays 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium on late Thursday, you were just happy to have your lineup one step closer to complete.
Today, though you have to tip your hat to Jay’s starter J.A. Happ who shut down the Yankees in this very good pitcher’s duel.
“He seemed OK,” manager Joe Girardi said of his designated hitter. “He did not get any hits but a lot of guys today didn’t get any hits.”
Rodriguez also credited Happ and said, “It was 0-4. I thought the last at-bat was fairly competitive.”
So let’s take this one as a mulligan.
Although, it wasn’t A-Rod’s fault today. Over the last two weeks, the Yankees didn’t miss A-Rod. They had Carlos Beltran carry the team to a .500 record before they dropped the last two games.
But Beltran isn’t going to stay on this hot streak forever.
The Yankees will need Rodriguez to start heating up over the next month, if they have any expectations to contend for a playoff spot. Without A-Rod, they Yankees have to hope that players like Beltran will continue to play over their heads to support the offense.
However, the big problem is the way the Yankee offense looks this year. Simply put, they are built so that no one player should carry the team. Rather, when they are going right, the Bombers should put a few runs on the board.
Unfortunately over the first two months of the season, none of this came to fruition. Mark Teixeira is hitting .195 with Rodriguez also on the Interstate at .184. Chase Headley looks lost at third. And now Teixeira is out with neck spasms.
That’s three big pieces of the puzzle that the Yankees are basically not moving the carousel along. And it’s not like the Yankees can just go and bench them. All are making big money, of course, but take that away and you will still see the Bombers just don’t have anyone else to play those positions. Greg Bird is out for the year and unless you count Rob Refsnyder, there are no third base candidates of note in the minors.
So the Yankees are basically stuck with what they have.
Even in his 40s, you have to expect Rodriguez to heat up a little as the weather gets warmer and if Teixeira’s neck isn’t a big issue then he should also start producing.
Last season, the Yankees rode those two the first half of the year to a decent lead, which became a Wild Card berth in September.
If they plan on it again, the Bombers will need both A-Rod and Teixeira healthy and hitting closer to their career averages if they expect this season to be meaningful as we move along is 2016.
Otherwise, pray for a miracle.