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View Full Version : Why does A-Rod struggle in clutch situations?



RichRed
05-23-2006, 02:18 PM
This was the question posed on Baseball Tonight last night. The expert chosen to handle this question? None other than the king of objective analysis himself, Joe Morgan. Joe proceeded to talk about the usual culprits, pressure of playing in New York, etc., etc.

But my issue is less with Morgan's response to the question, which was nothing if not predictable, than with the question itself. It's nothing short of lazy journalism because they have taken the leap that the concept of A-Rod always struggling in the "clutch" is a fact. The ironic thing about it is that the evidence to either support or refute this "fact" is available on their own web site, none of which was cited during the discussion! From espn.com:

From 2003-05, in close-and-late situations, Rodriguez has hit 15 HR with 48 RBI and 43 runs scored in 228 ABs and a line of .276/.392/.553/.945. In other words, pretty much in line with his overall career stats. Extrapolate his numbers out to an entire "season" of 600 close-and-late ABs and the man would have 166 H, 113 R, 39 HR and 126 RBI.

Now I'm no particular fan of A-Rod but this just strikes me as another case of ESPN's laziness, as well as the tendency for media and fans to pick on a team's best player because he has the audacity to be anything less than perfect. (Not an invitation for another pro/con Dunn thread, please. :) )

Comments appreciated.

griffeyfreak4
05-23-2006, 11:57 PM
I've always loved A-Rod and I hope he smashes every record in the books. He just gets picked on a lot because there is a lot of talk about him being the best baseball player ever, and people expect him to be some kind of Hercules.

pedro
05-24-2006, 12:01 AM
A lot of it has to do with the loud complaints of unrealistic fans in NY and the fact that he hit a HR when the Yanks were down 8-0 last night against the Reds Sox. Guess it would have been better if he'd grounded out.

cincinnati chili
05-24-2006, 12:03 AM
It's nothing short of lazy journalism



I think this says it all. If "clutch" indeed exists, then A-Rod is not non-clutch.

edabbs44
05-24-2006, 12:39 AM
One of the biggest problems is how Ortiz seems to come up with the big hit and ARod does not. Then it is magnified 500 times b/c of the NY factor. But since I see a lot of NY games out here, I have to say it is a legitimate point and one that definitely exists.

blumj
05-24-2006, 01:38 AM
He got the big game winner tonight, and Ortiz had a chance and didn't. But since I'm a Red Sox fan, the myth of A-Rod's unclutchness is fun for me. I just think the NY media is savage and he made the mistake of showing that he cares how he's portrayed, so they're feeding off him like the vultures they are. And ESPN just picks it up and starts picking over the carcass themselves, because they're no better.

pedro
05-24-2006, 02:21 AM
I did look at the numbers and Arod's 3 year OPS splits with RISP are about .100 less than his overall OPS. (but still in th .830 range)

edabbs44
05-24-2006, 07:21 AM
I did look at the numbers and Arod's 3 year OPS splits with RISP are about .100 less than his overall OPS. (but still in th .830 range)
But the "late and close" stat is, I believe, where he struggles.

RedsBaron
05-24-2006, 07:36 AM
this just strikes me as another case of ESPN's laziness
My 13 year old son watches ESPN constantly and I think he believes everything he hears, despite my constantly admonishing him that much of the commentary on ESPN is garbage.

flyer85
05-24-2006, 10:03 AM
must be because he sucks :help:

SteelSD
05-24-2006, 10:53 AM
But the "late and close" stat is, I believe, where he struggles.

Does he?

2002-2005 Close and Late: .392 OBP, .553 SLG- .945 OPS

He also allegedly "struggles" against Boston...

2002-2005 vs. Boston: .408 OBP, .514 SLG- .922 OPS

And in the playoffs...

Career Playoffs: .393 OBP, .534 SLG- .927 OPS

And in three LCS: .413 OBP, .611 SLG- 1.024 OPS

In reference to A-Rod's performance, the only things that struggle are oblivious Yankees fans and media luddites looking for the next dumb thing to say.

SteelSD
05-24-2006, 10:54 AM
My 13 year old son watches ESPN constantly and I think he believes everything he hears, despite my constantly admonishing him that much of the commentary on ESPN is garbage.

Just tell him that if he continues to do that, he'll go blind.

Worked for Raisor's parents. ;)

westofyou
05-24-2006, 10:55 AM
Obviously he's not playing the game "The right way"

dabvu2498
05-24-2006, 11:41 AM
I think this is just another tactic to play on the Yank/New York people's anxiety about not being in the World Series for the past two years. *gasp* And not winning it since... *louder gasp*

edabbs44
05-24-2006, 12:05 PM
Does he?

2002-2005 Close and Late: .392 OBP, .553 SLG- .945 OPS

He also allegedly "struggles" against Boston...

2002-2005 vs. Boston: .408 OBP, .514 SLG- .922 OPS

And in the playoffs...

Career Playoffs: .393 OBP, .534 SLG- .927 OPS

And in three LCS: .413 OBP, .611 SLG- 1.024 OPS

In reference to A-Rod's performance, the only things that struggle are oblivious Yankees fans and media luddites looking for the next dumb thing to say.
I was obviously wrong there. Just from watching Yankee games b/c of where I live I have to say ARod definitely struggles in the big game/AB. It has happened many times and he actually has admitted to it. I even believe Torre has addressed it in the papers. The papers were all giddy b/c of his HR last night, but if the bullpen didn't get lit up his HR would have been less meaningful. I can;t look up the stats b/c I am at work, but what are his career playoff stats since he got to NY, including power numbers? I think they might be worse.

DeadRedinCT
05-24-2006, 12:13 PM
A-Rod's problem is that he has yet to master the infamous Jeter fist pump. Once he gets that down, he should be alright.

IslandRed
05-24-2006, 12:26 PM
A lot of it's just perception. Two guys can each go 1-for-3 in pressure situations. The guy with the reputation as clutch, people talk about the hit he got. The guy with a reputation for not-clutch, people talk about the two hits he didn't get.

pedro
05-24-2006, 12:28 PM
A lot of it's just perception. Two guys can each go 1-for-3 in pressure situations. The guy with the reputation as clutch, people talk about the hit he got. The guy with a reputation for not-clutch, people talk about the two hits he didn't get.

I'd think that was a very valid point but I'm sceptical of your posting ability. ;)

westofyou
05-24-2006, 12:49 PM
The more things change the more they stay the same.

http://www.deadballart.com/redszone/3rd.gif

vaticanplum
05-24-2006, 01:20 PM
The only times he has truly strugged statistically is in some of the playoff series. And to me it is unquestionable that A-Rod was the reason they were in the playoffs at all last year.

When it happens, everybody does beat him up over it, most of all himself, so it is intensely magnified, as IslandRed says.

RichRed
05-24-2006, 01:20 PM
I was obviously wrong there. Just from watching Yankee games b/c of where I live I have to say ARod definitely struggles in the big game/AB. It has happened many times and he actually has admitted to it. I even believe Torre has addressed it in the papers.

Then it's a shame that ARod and Torre have fallen into the trap laid by the media. All they have to do is look up the stats to see what the truth is. As for his postseason stats, click here and scroll down:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/rodrial01.shtml

He's actually done very well in the postseason with the exception of the last series against the Angels. Folks are picking on him even more this year because so far he's 2 for 22 in close-and-late situations, as if that's a large enough sample size to indicate anything of value. Like I and others have said, another example of nitpicking at a superstar for daring not to be perfect while ignoring the team's other, more obvious, shortcomings.

Team Clark
05-24-2006, 05:14 PM
If the Yankees ever become displeased with A-Rod, I am sure a deal could be worked out with the Reds. Ed E and Belisle for A-Rod and Wang would work for me.

edabbs44
05-24-2006, 05:18 PM
Then it's a shame that ARod and Torre have fallen into the trap laid by the media. All they have to do is look up the stats to see what the truth is. As for his postseason stats, click here and scroll down:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/rodrial01.shtml

He's actually done very well in the postseason with the exception of the last series against the Angels. Folks are picking on him even more this year because so far he's 2 for 22 in close-and-late situations, as if that's a large enough sample size to indicate anything of value. Like I and others have said, another example of nitpicking at a superstar for daring not to be perfect while ignoring the team's other, more obvious, shortcomings.
ARod bottomed out during the collapse against Boston along with the rest of the lineup. That is not fondly remembered here...he was having a great series and then vanished. Same with Matsui, Jeter and Sheff. Matsui was non-existant after Pedro knocked him down.

Crosley68
05-24-2006, 05:21 PM
Perception is very powerful........even when it is dead wrong.

RichRed
05-24-2006, 06:52 PM
ARod bottomed out during the collapse against Boston along with the rest of the lineup. That is not fondly remembered here...he was having a great series and then vanished. Same with Matsui, Jeter and Sheff. Matsui was non-existant after Pedro knocked him down.

Sometimes you just run up against superior pitching. The entire Yankees lineup went 35 for 163 (.215 avg.) during the 4 games they lost so picking on Rodriguez just seems silly. By the way, Golden Boy Jeter went 6-30 (.200) during that series.

vaticanplum
05-24-2006, 07:03 PM
By the way, Golden Boy Jeter went 6-30 (.200) during that series.

But Jeter gets an awful lot of crap for that series from New York fans too, as he does for the 2001 ALCS and World Series (apart from the home run).

something that hasn't been brought up is how much A-Rod's supposed clutchlessness has to do specifically with series against Boston. He has the reputation of being the most loathed of all the Yankees among the Red Sox team and their fans, due mostly, I believe, to the fact that they almost signed him, and then to the big brawl with the Red Sox in July of his first season with the Yankees and then the Arroyo slap. He goes through more taunting when they play than any other Yankee with the recent exception of Damon. I know that all of you think that rivalry is overplayed and it is, but the truth is that A-Rod is under a heavy microscope when he plays Boston for all of those reasons and if he doesn't come through "in the clutch" at those random and unweighted times during the season, it is seriously magnified by the media of both cities. I don't know his stats against Boston, but it does feel like he's missed some chances there (but not last night! rock)