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.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.
Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.
The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.