Since going 2-for-5 with the grand slam and six RBI in that blowout of the Orioles on April 23, A-Rod is just 5-for-36 with two RBI, nine strikeouts, three walks and one extra base hit (a double). He’s hitting .139/.205/.167 over that nine-game span and just doesn’t look right at the plate.
So what could possibly be wrong with a guy who looked so locked in during spring training and up until this slump? I know this slide is a very small sample, but it’s hard to fathom a player of A-Rod’s caliber going from hitting .370/.483/.826 with five homers, 16 RBI and 11 walks to just six strikeouts in 14 games to what he’s doing now.
My guess is injury. A-Rod missed two straight games with an oblique/lower back injury on April 17 and 19, and probably would have missed more if not for a very accommodating schedule featuring off days on Monday and Thursday of that week in addition to a rain out on Friday.
Since he suffered the injury — during a swing in a 5-2 win over the Rangers on April 16, although some speculate it could be trouble with one of his hooves — A-Rod is 7-for-45 and hitting .156/.250/.267. He’s just not the same and it’s obvious he’s not 100 percent.
If he doesn’t start hitting soon, he should take some time off and get healthy. I’d rather have him miss a few games in May than let this injury linger into the later parts of the season. Granted, the team is 2-2 this season with him out of the lineup, but one of those losses was the Beckett gem (when A-Rod was out due to the flu) and the other was the extra inning loss to Toronto when Nova lost the game in the 10th.
In one of the wins, Eric Chavez played very well against the Rangers on a Sunday night and the other Chavez went 1-for-3 with an RBI and scored. Eric’s hitting .290/.405/.355 in 16 games (31 at-bats) this season with two doubles, five RBI, six walks and three strikeouts. I think Chavez’ body can hold up for a few games while A-Rod gets back to normal.
Sure, they’re 8-4 with him playing through this slump but why risk it? He can spit sunflower seeds through his purple lips while resting and recuperating on the bench.