A-Rod's postseason woes a thing of the past

October 10, 2009

Did you see it? Were you watching when the Twins took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night? Once Mark Teixeira led off with that rope into right field, did you know that the first certifiable Postseason Moment at the new Bronx playhouse was on its way?

"Like a shotgun ... It sounded like a shotgun."
Nick Swisher

If so, then I hope you weren't watching in a crowded room with too many people talking and the TV on mute. Seeing this was one thing. Hearing it was another. When Alex Rodriguez swung at the 3-1 pitch from Joe Nathan — a fastball down the chute — I suspect your grandpa didn't need his Miracle Ear in order to know where that baseball was going to land.

"Like a shotgun," Yankees right fielder/wordsmith Nick Swisher recounted. "It sounded like a shotgun."

Weeks from now, we might remember that as the definitive noise of this postseason. Two games and two New York victories into the American League Division Series, it would appear that A-Rod's past postseason ineptitude is now less of a story than his current postseason triumphs. No small feat.

Without Rodriguez's game-tying thunderclap, we would be traveling to the Twin Cities on high alert for the Yankees' fourth first-round exit since 2005. Instead, their 4-3 victory gave the Yanks a 2-0 series lead. They are on the verge of winning their first postseason series since Dave Roberts stole second base.

A-Rod's hitting has been the story thus far, with numbers too gaudy to ignore: the .500 batting average (4-for-8), the team-leading five RBIs, the new home run for his Yankeeography.

Now, before you push away from the computer to offer Rodriguez another standing O, I should remind you of something: We thought A-Rod had this moment before. Five years ago. In a very similar circumstance. And we were duped.

Would you believe that A-Rod had another key hit, in another Game 2 win, in another ALDS against the Twins, in another encounter with Nathan?

True story. Rodriguez tied that game with a ground-rule double in the bottom of the 12th inning. For an instant, A-Rod looked like an October performer in his first year as a Yankee. But that was a mirage.