Postseason ponderings ...
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi pinch-hit Raul Ibanez for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning on Wednesday. Ibanez delivered a game-tying home run, and three innings later, he also hit a walk-off home run in a 3-2, 12-inning win over Baltimore.
Rodriguez led the celebration in the dugout, finally finding something to smile about this postseason.
Rodriguez is in a 1-for-12 postseason funk, striking out seven times. He has not driven in a run, having gone hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Rodriguez is a career .300 hitter during the regular season, and has a career .297 batting average with runners in scoring position during the regular season. The postseason is a different story. His career average with runners in scoring position in the postseason is .175, the 30th lowest among 213 players with a minimum of 15 postseason plate appearances in such circumtances.
Rodriguez is 0-for-3 without an RBI with runners in scoring position in this year's Division Series. There are five players without an RBI who have more at-bats so far. Jayson Werth of Washington is 0-for-5. Allen Craig and Ryan Ludwick of St. Louis and Matt Weiters of Baltimore are 0-for-4. Brandon Moss of Oakland is 1-for-4, but only advanced a runner to third base with his hit.
Girardi had his own problems in the clutch in the postseason. He hit .080 with runners in scoring position, one of three players who had at least 25 postseason at-bats and an average below .100 with runners in scoring position, according to Stats, Inc. Current Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher has an average of .030 -- one hit and one RBI in 33 at-bats -- and Bill Buckner hit .094.
Hits do not guarantee RBIs. Ian Desmond has hit .583 for Washington in the first three games this postseason, but does not have an RBI, the highest average of any player in a Division Series without an RBI. Derrek Lee hit .545 for the Chicago Cubs in 2008. Chad Fonville, with the Dodgers in 1995, and Julio Franco, with Atlanta in 2003, both hit .500 without driving in a run.
There are have been times a player has had 10 or more at-bats in a Division Series and not driven in a run. Eric Chavez and Ramon Hernandez have done it twice apiece.
Chavez hit .045 (1-for-22) in 2003 with Oakland, including seven hitless at-bats with a runner in scoring position, and hit .143 (3-for-21) with eight hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position for Oakland in 2001. Hernandez hit .059 (1-for-17) for the A's in 2002 and was 0-for-10 in 2001 with Oakland. Both times he had two hitless at-bats with a runner in scoring position.
Chavez and Johnny Damon had the most at-bats in a Division Series without an RBI. Damon had nine hits in his 22 at-bats for Oakland in 2001, but only one of those at-bats occurred with a runner in scoring position.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com.