New York is very much a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of town, but certain players, like Derek Jeter, will get a pass if they underperform in the playoffs while others will be under a big microscope.
Here are five Yankees that will be under the most pressure to perform:
Alex Rodriguez – A-Rod gained a reputation as a playoff choker when he hit just .148/.316/.262 over a 17 game span from Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS through the 2007 ALDS. He has since made up for that streak and then some, but because he’s the highest paid Yankee people seem to have forgotten 2009. If A-Rod struggles, if he even goes 0-for-1, he will be booed mercilessly. It doesn’t help that he only had a .710 OPS over the final 28 games of the season.
Mark Teixeira – Everybody remembers his game tying home run during Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS, but aside from that shot Teixeira has been a no show in October. In 27 games, he has hit a miniscule .170/.276/.302. He hasn’t had a multi-hit game or a home run since the 2010 ALDS.
Nick Swisher – Most Yankees fans love Swisher, but the few that don’t usually hold his October numbers against him. He really seems to press in the postseason and has hit just .160/.257/.330 in 28 games with the Yankees. He’s a free agent after this season and he’s likely gone, but if he has any chance to stay he’s going to need to put together a strong postseason.
CC Sabathia – CC is another one who had an amazing October in 2009, and after A-Rod was probably the biggest reason they won, but Yankees fans don’t remember that far back and since he struggled in the playoffs before and after that he has gotten the label as an October choker. In six playoff starts since 2010, The Big Man has a 5.84 ERA with a 5.5 BB/9 and a 1.91 WHIP.
Robinson Cano – Cano was clearly the Yankees MVP this season and is their best hope to carry the team, but that just means higher expectations from Yankees fans. Besides, after he had only an .830 OPS with RISP this season they are ready to jump all over him if he leaves runners on base in any big situation.