Thus far, what has been a memorable postseason, to say the least, has not been kind to Yankees slugger, Mark Teixeira. Though he has often dazzled with his golden glove, causing the always insightful Tim McCarver to continuously refer to him as a Hoover—like the vacuum, Teixeira has struggled mightily to produce offensively, as his bat has languished. For whatever reason, whether it be the persistent pressure intrinsically connected to Teixeira’s pinstriped jersey or a simple slump at the worst possible time, the man that had assaulted AL pitching in 2009, hitting 39 home runs and plating 122, appears to be stuck in a seemingly endless state of offensive ineffectiveness.
In the ALDS, against the Twins, a team that Teixeira normally enjoys facing—his career line against Minnesota is .371/.415/.670, he hit a feeble .167/.231/.417, and looked more like Robinson Cano with runners in scoring position than the player that led the league in RBI. He walked once and drove in 1 lone run on a solo home run (it was a big home run, but the lack of general production is obviously evident). It was merely a poor series, we all thought, upon reflection. It was preposterous to assume that such a miserable postseason performance could continue into the ALCS. Thinking that Mark Teixeira, who hit .292/.383/.565 during the regular season, would hit under .200 against the Angels was absurd, it seemed. No way would he fold—not Big Tex. The ALDS was nothing more than a sour fluke.
Of course, those who quietly feared that Teixeira would continue to struggle against his former SoCal brethren had their fears confirmed in each grueling ALCS game, as Teixeira hit a remarkably poor .222/.290/.259 during the series (hey, at least he stayed above .200 this time). He drove in 4 runs and struck out 8 times over 6 games. Though the Yankees managed to escape the ALCS winners, one wonders what would have occurred had the Yankees lost. Would Teixeira have been blamed for the early exit? It was, of course, very likely, as the much maligned Alex Rodriguez did more than his part to pave a path to playoff glory, a path that ended and began with the World Series.
However, hypotheticals aside, the Yankees did not lose, as they are, indeed, in the World Series and continue to battle the Phillies for baseball’s bedazzled crown and impressive throne. Sadly though, for the Bombers, Mark Teixeira’s frustratingly flaccid bat has followed him into the fray. He has been but a shell of his regular season self, hitting a paltry .105 through the first 5 games. He has 2 RBI, a number that is simply unacceptable given his position above A-Rod in the Yankees batting order. Normally a patient hitter, Teixeira has walked only twice during the series while striking out 7 times. One of his more cited strike outs can be found in last night’s ballgame, when Teixeira swung at a pair of Ryan Madson changeups that were well out of the zone, ending the game with Hideki Matsui standing at second base (Teixeira was, himself, the tying run) and Alex Rodriguez stranded in the on-deck circle. If only, if only…
Following his prominent game-ending strike out, Teixeira seemed impervious to his offensive listlessness. “I think I’ve done a lot, this postseason, to help this team win,” he chirped. “That’s what I’m going to try and do [Wednesday].” Please, allow me to stage an intervention—Mark, with your limp Louisville, you have done little to help the team this postseason. Remember, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. The Yankees have 2 possible games left this season and, in order to defeat a strong Philly lineup, the team needs Mark Teixeira to produce with both his bat and his mitt. As of right now, the mitt is present (UZR be damned), but the bat is nowhere to be found.
Photo by AP
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