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. )