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Rodriguez's struggles mark ALDS loss

Rodriguez's struggles mark ALDS loss

ANAHEIM -- Alex Rodriguez may very well collect his second American League Most Valuable Player Award next month, but he will likely remember the 2005 season for its disappointing finish.

Rodriguez and the Yankees were eliminated from the postseason on Monday night, when they fell to the Angels, 5-3, in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

A-Rod finished the series with a meager .133 batting average, collecting just two hits in 15 at-bats. He did not drive in a run.

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In the ninth inning of Game 5, Rodriguez had one final chance to erase his performance for the entire series. He stepped to the plate with Derek Jeter at first base and his team trailing by two runs.

But A-Rod grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and there would be no comeback for New York.

"I can't put it into words; it's as low as it gets," Rodriguez said. "It's one of those things you can't figure out. I felt good, saw the ball well, I just had a bad series."

Watching Rodriguez address the media after the game, it appeared that this loss affected him more than last year's ALCS, when the Yankees lost four straight games to the Red Sox.

A-Rod stood at his locker, fighting back tears, as he put the onus for the Yankees' defeat squarely on his own shoulders.

"I played great baseball all year, but I played like a dog the last five days," Rodriguez said. "At the end of the day, you win or lose as a team, but I didn't show up."

Rodriguez's regular season was one to remember. He hit .321 with 48 home runs and 130 RBIs, putting himself in contention with Boston's David Ortiz for the AL MVP Award.

Rodriguez's season even seemed headed in an upward direction during the final weekend, when he went 4-for-5 with a home run in the Yankees' division-winning victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

But once the playoffs started, Rodriguez disappeared.

He managed to finish the series with a .435 on-base percentage, thanks to six walks and two hit-by-pitches, but Rodriguez credited the Angels' pitchers with taking a good approach against him.

"They've always pitched me tough," he said. "I thought I did a pretty decent job of walking. Mike Scioscia knows what he's doing, they did a good job and I didn't swing the bat very well. You get anxious, you want to hit and contribute. I just didn't get it done."

Two years into his Yankees career, Rodriguez has an historic loss to the Red Sox and a grueling defeat to the Angels to look back on. For the past month, he has said that he felt the Yankees were the best team in baseball, a stance he still took following Monday's loss.

"I still do, which is what's unfortunate," he said. "Maybe if I would have contributed some, we'd be moving on to Chicago. I have to take a long look in the mirror myself, because I didn't do my part."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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