It's a question that will be hanging over the ALCS like a poorly thrown curveball: what will Joe Girardi do with Alex Rodriguez?
Rodriguez, as we all know, was not in the lineup in the Yanks' Game 5 win over Baltimore on Friday. Prior to that, he'd been pinch hit for in two big spots in the late innings of Games 3 and 4.
So maybe the writing is on the wall and Girardi keeps A-Rod on the bench in the ALCS.
Something to consider: the Tigers are expected to throw out right-handed starters for the entire series and Rodriguez has struggled mightily against righties. All nine of his strikeouts in the ALDS came against righties. And Eric Chavez, his replacement at third on Friday, has hit well against right-handers.
Chavez had an .908 OPS against righties during the regular season, while Rodriguez's was .717.
Rodriguez went 2-for-16 in the ALDS. He was upset over Girardi's decision to bench him, but said he understood it.
"Obviously I'm not happy and, you know, I was disappointed. You want to be in there in the worst way," he said about two hours before first pitch of Game 5. "But I keep telling you guys, this is not a story about one person, this is about a team. We have some unfinished business. Our objective is to win one game and keep this thing moving."
Now that they've done that, will A-Rod play a role in the ALCS?
"Don't assume that you've heard the last from us, or me," he said.
Up Now: Ian O'Connor breaks down CC Sabathia's dominance. Wallace Matthews tackles the A-Rod issue and Andrew Marchand and Matthews break it all down on video. I have notes on the blog on McLouth's foul ball, five things you need to know from the Yankees clubhouse and Andy Pettitte's Game 1 start.
On Deck: Pettitte takes on Doug Fister in Game 1 of the ALCS tonight. First pitch: 8 p.m.
Question Of The Day: How would you use A-Rod in the ALCS?