For all of his home runs, All-Star accolades, and huge salaries, Alex Rodriguez finds himself in a most familiar spot this season. A-Rod is an October lightning rod.
With every swing and miss, memories of his amazing run during the New York Yankees’ championship season in 2009 fade even further. Instead, fans are becoming more and more vocal, calling for manager Joe Girardi to drop him from the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
Rodriguez struck out to end the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Game 2 of their division series Monday night, leaving the best-of-five matchup tied at 1.
He’s fanned plenty of times — five in all while going 1 for 9 so far in the series.
‘‘I feel fine at the plate,’’ Rodriguez said after the loss. ‘‘I've just got to finish at-bats. I'm getting good swings.’’
He'll have the chance to turn things around Wednesday night when the series shifts to the Bronx for Game 3. Hiroki Kuroda (16-11) starts for New York against Miguel Gonzalez (9-4), a rookie righthander who has 17 strikeouts in 13⅔ innings against the Yankees in two starts.
After their train experienced an electrical outage after the loss Monday and turned a usual 2-hour, 15-minute trip to New York into a 5-hour journey, Girardi was reluctant to address the Yankees’ more pressing power problem Tuesday.
‘‘I think that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this three-game series. Nothing that we do will be something that is just a knee-jerk reaction,’’ Girardi said. ‘‘The great thing about this is I have a great group of guys that’s very unselfish, and they really want to win. And that’s what we’re going to do, what we think is best to win.’’
Nationals carry on
Stephen Strasburg joined his teammates for an off-day workout at Nationals Park Tuesday, red socks pulled nearly up to his knees while tossing baseballs in the outfield a day before the first postseason game in the nation’s capital in 79 years.
That’s about the extent of activity these days for Strasburg as the Washington Nationals carry on without their acknowledged ace, shut down a month ago.
The NL East champions’ opponent right now, the St. Louis Cardinals, are very much counting on their returning ace, Chris Carpenter, who has pitched only 17 innings all year. Carpenter will be on the mound Wednesday afternoon for Game 3 of the NL division series, facing Washington’s Edwin Jackson. The best-of-five series is tied at 1.
The 37-year-old Carpenter had surgery in July for a nerve problem that left his throwing arm and much of the right side of his body numb. He came back on Sept. 21, and is 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts.
‘‘Everybody knows that it wasn’t supposed to happen,’’ Carpenter said about the prospect of pitching at all in 2012. ‘‘I put a lot of work into it, to hopefully have this opportunity. I didn’t know if I was going to have this opportunity or not — and fortunately, I do.’’
He is 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA in the postseason for his career.
That includes going 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA last year while helping St. Louis win the World Series.
‘‘Him winning the World Series last year or whenever isn’t going to do anything for him [Wednesday],’’ Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. ‘‘We’re going to go out there with our plan and try and do what we've done all year.’’
Garcia is out
The Cardinals removed Jaime Garcia from their NL division series roster Tuesday, a day after he lasted only two innings in his Game 2 start because of an ailing shoulder.
An MRI revealed that the lefthander has a strained rotator cuff and inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He'll be replaced by rookie righthander Shelby Miller.
Garcia’s health was a concern after he missed two months this season with shoulder fatigue, but he had pitched well since returning in mid-August.
Lansford, Dauer let go
The contracts of Rockies hitting instructor Carney Lansford and third-base coach Rich Dauer weren’t renewed in the wake of manager Jim Tracy’s unexpected resignation over the weekend . . . The late Ken Coleman, a former Red Sox broadcaster, is among 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the Hall of Fame for excellence in baseball broadcasting.