Sportress of Blogitude

A-Rod says Yankees ‘just need to relax and play our game’

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Alex Rodriguez acknowledged that he “stunk” in Tuesday’s 10-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox, but insists that he and the entire New York Yankees team “just need to relax and play our game.”

“I like our team a lot, I like where we’re at,” the slugger said, via NJ.com.

The Yankees have dropped two straight and five of its last 10 games, certainly not the way the team wants to head into the postseason as one of the American League’s two wild card teams, something all but assured for the Yankees at this late stage of the season.

But Rodriguez insisted on maintaining his relax mantra and stressed the Yankees will be just fine.

“I think everyone’s anticipating and it’s just important to keep it one day at a time, one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time,” he said. “We’ve been doing that all year. Nothing’s going to be easy. This is very predictable. We’ve just got to go back and play some Yankee baseball.”

After starting the season surprisingly fast, A-Rod has struggled, especially down the stretch. Since Aug. 1, he is batting .185 with eight homers and 24 RBI over a span of 51 games.

“Obviously, it is important for me to swing the bat well,” Rodriguez said. “There is no question about it. The senior guys in this room, we have to make sure that we come out and stay relaxed and play good Yankee baseball. Part of that is me swinging the bat well.”

The team as a whole has struggled, especially against left-handed starting pitching, since Aug. 16 when Mark Teixeira suffered a leg fracture, going 4-8 in those games.

The Yankees, as noted elsewhere, arguably have relied too heavily on the 40-year-old Rodriguez after expecting little coming off his one-year suspension. But he has dazzled at the plate at times and despite his severe late-season struggles, has a triple-slash of .250/.353/.486 with 32 home runs and 85 RBI, big numbers when next to nothing was expected.

Skipper Joe Girardi acknowledged that A-Rod’s play has served the team well and that the Yankees need him more than ever right now, calling him a “difference-maker.”