Alex Rodriguez’s Benching Means Rest of Yankees’ Lineup Now Left to Be Accountable for Struggles

Alex Rodriguez's Benching Means Rest of Yankees' Lineup Now Left to Be Accountable for StrugglesYankees fans everywhere cheered and media members voiced their respect for Joe Girardi when he posted his lineup card Friday afternoon.

That's because Alex Rodriguez's name was not on it for the Yankees' do-or-die Game 5 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Know who should be terrified of Rodriguez's absence on that card? The rest of the Yankees lineup. Guys like Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson. For the first time all series, they're going to be held accountable.

Rodriguez has been awful in this series, there's no denying that. That's how, as a player who makes enough money to last multiple lifetimes in season, you get benched in the team's most important game. Yet, at the same time, Rodriguez has proved to be the ultimate scapegoat.

The dirty little secret about the New York lineup has been the fact that they have all stunk. Rodriguez has been pretty bad. He's 2-for-16 in this series. That's not good for Alex Gonzalez, let alone Alex Rodriguez. But you know what? That's one more hit than Granderson has. That's as many knocks as Swisher has recorded.

That duo of Yankees outfielders — Granderson and Swisher — are hitting a combined .097 (3-for-31) in these four games. But then again, those guys "only" make a combined $20.25 million for 2012 and they're unlikely to end up in Cooperstown, so they skate for the most part, avoiding the back pages of the tabloids in New York.

Oh, and Ichiro Suzuki is 4-for-20. Robinson Cano is 2-for-18. It's up and down the lineup save for a guy here or there.

That's not to say that they haven't been criticized or no one has noticed their struggles. But Rodriguez has served as the pinata for the majority of fans and media, and while it may be justified, he's not the only reason the Yankees are on the brink of elimination. 

The Yankees enter Game 5 hitting .216 for the series. They're hitting .214 with runners in scoring position. With runners in scoring position and two outs, they have a .077 average. They have left roughly the population of the Bronx borough on base.

Is that all Rodriguez's fault? Of course not.

The Yankees' offense has been neutralized, at least through four games. Maybe they'll break out of it, and things will be fine and dandy in Yankeeland, and the Raul Ibanez Yankeeography will be out by Christmas. 

But whatever happens in Game 5, chances are it won't be A-Rod's fault. In that case, the rest of the Yankees' lineup will have to answer for why they fall apart when it mattered most. 

No longer can they hide behind the ineptitude of Rodriguez. It's about time.

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