Rapid Reaction: Alex on the bench

What it means: That in the space of three games, Alex Rodriguez has gone from the No. 3 hitter in the Yankees' lineup to a $32 million platoon player for the most important game of the season.

When it happened: Joe Girardi said he slept on the decision and informed A-Rod today at about 1 p.m.; the Yankees' lineup was posted at about 1:20.

The reasons: Well, obviously because Alex has struggled this postseason, hitting just .125 in the first four games of the ALCS with two singles in 16 at-bats. He has also struck out nine times.

Mitigating factors? None, even though A-Rod's numbers against Orioles starter Jason Hammel are eye-popping: 8-for-24 (.333) with four home runs. In Game 1, he went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout against Hammel.

A-Rod's reaction: According to Girardi, "He said he's ready to help when he needs to help, and let's win today."

Mollifying words: From Girardi: "It's never an easy decision. It really isn't. I know what he's capable of doing, so it's not easy. It's a tough decision. You know at any time he's capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark, too. It's not easy."

What's next: A-Rod is available to pinch-hit against a left-handed reliever late in the game.