Vladimir Guerrero is really struggling at the plate this postseason, particularly against the White Sox. He's 1-16 in the ALCS; in the playoffs overall, he's 7-34 with zero extra-base hits and 1 RBI. His OPS so far this October: .476.
Stories are starting to trickle in about Vlad's woes at the plate, which makes sense because he's basically all the Angels have on offense. But there's a decided difference in the way sportswriters are handling Vladdy as opposed to the dressing down A-Rod got just a few days ago.
In short, no one's calling Vlad a choker. No one's questioning his heart, his desire, his mental makeup. No one's crying out for him to earn his enormous contract. No one's screaming that Arte Moreno acquired him FOR THESE GAMES AND THESE GAMES ONLY.
Instead, writers are -- quite fairly, I think -- saying that without Vlad, the Angels don't stand a chance, and it's too bad he happens to be slumping at the wrong time. Which would also be a very plausible explanation for what A-Rod did in the ALDS. But no one was offering that excuse for him.
Tom Verducci asks
about Guerrero: Is he hurt? Even in the best of times Guerrero looks as if he woke up after a rough night on a bad mattress. The guy walks and jogs as if his spikes are too tight. But then he'll burst from first to third on a bloop --- the way he did against the Yankees in the ALDS -- in a show of sprinter's speed. So who knows? "He's not getting treatment that I know of," one Angels staff member said. "If he was hurt he wouldn't say anything, but there's nothing wrong as far as we know."
So when Guerrero performs poorly in the playoffs, he's just a little off, or he's banged up and is valiantly playing through the pain. When A-Rod stinks it up, he's an overpaid superstar who will never come through in big moments.
Possible reasons people do this:
1. A-Rod is not a likeable guy. He seems fake, and he's too polished to offer interesting quotes to the media.
2. There are higher expectations of A-Rod because of his contract.
3. There is increased scrutiny of A-Rod because he's a Yankee.
None of these are good reasons. As of right now, Vladimir Guerrero has never had a good postseason series, and I'm glad to report that no one is labeling him a choker just yet. They shouldn't. Given enough time, I think he'll come through, just as Barry Bonds did and A-Rod likely will.
Labels: alex rodriguez, arod, vladimir guerrero