Joe Girardi faced the media after posting an A-Rod-free lineup for Game 5, and was pretty straightforward about why he benched his third baseman: he rather stinks lately:
“It is difficult. He has meant a lot to the organization, the game of baseball over the years,” manager Joe Girardi said. “And he has been a very productive hitter. But he struggled against right-handers in the series, and Chavy has been good against right-handers all year long.”
A-Rod is 0 for 12 against righties in the ALDS. Chavez is 0 for 4. For the season, A-Rod is .256/.326/.391 against righties. Chavez is hitting .298/.365/.543 against them in 2012.
Beyond the numbers, Girardi was asked about what the benching means for his relationship with Rodriguez:
“I ain’t worried about years ahead. Just let me worry about today,” Girardi said. “The best relationships, the strongest relationships, are always relationships that go through some struggles. Relationships just aren’t perfect. I mean, you put a husband and wife together where the relationship was just perfect without any struggles, and you’re probably not living on this planet. So relationships go through that.”
Derek Jeter has played in New York for the better part of two decades and he hasn’t had relationship problems. Which, based on Girardi’s reasoning, means that Jeter is an alien.
Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.
The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.
The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.
The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense: