Time For Teixeira To Produce

As the Yankees move closer to opening day, there are more concerns and questions now than there were when spring training began. Joba Chamberlain‘s ankle fracture has made his future in baseball uncertain. Michael Pineda‘s lack of velocity and control in spring training has vastly scaled back his expectations for this upcoming season. Raul Ibanez‘ bat has looked about as quick as David Ortiz heading from first base to third base.

In reality, those situations will probably work themselves out.  While Joba’s return this season was highly anticipated, the Yankees still have one of the best bullpens in baseball.  If Pineda doesn’t turn out to be the shutdown number two starter that so many claimed he’d be after the trade? Well that’s ok also.  With Andy Petitte’s impending return to pinstripes sometime in May as well as how good Phil Hughes has looked this spring, the Yankees rotation will be fine.  Ibanez is only on a one year, one million dollar deal. If he doesn’t produce he can be released with very little lost in the gamble on him, and the DH slot filled with players like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter getting rest from playing the field.

One of the most pressing concerns for the 2012 season that doesn’t grab the headlines it should is Mark Teixeira and his declining batting average, on base percentage, and  struggles against the shift.

I’ll never forget where I was the day that I heard the Yankees had signed Mark Teixeira.  It was a couple of days before Christmas in 2008. I had just completed some last-minute Christmas shopping and it was snowing lightly. I had started driving home when an update came across the ESPN radio affiliate that I was listening to that said Texeira was going to be a Yankee. I almost ran into the car in front of me in shock.  After the signings of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett earlier that month, it appeared the Yankees would be unstoppable in 2009 with the addition of a player of Teixeira’s caliber.

We all know how that worked out. C.C. and A.J. did their jobs that season and after a slow start in April, Mark Teixeira rebounded with a near MVP regular season. The Yankees won the World Series and all three signings appeared to have been good ones.

2010 and 2011 rolled around and the perspective on those signings changed.  A.J. Burnett absorbed almost all of the headlines and rage from the mainstream media and fans during those two seasons. His inconsistency and failure to pitch to his contract value made him the ultimate scapegoat in New York.  By the time he was traded earlier this year, Burnett had been accused of everything but the Kennedy assassination.  Lost in the headlines and hype about Burnett’s performance the last two seasons was the serious decline in his fellow free agent classmate Mark Teixeira.

 

When Teixeira was signed by the Yankees to an eight year deal worth in excess of one hundred and eighty million dollars, the Yankees and their fans thought they were getting the slick fielding, switch hitting, .300 hitter that would anchor the third spot in the order for years.  It really looked like a great signing.  Teixeira was a lifetime .30o plus hitter when he was signed by the Yankees. He had enjoyed success with three different teams and in both leagues.  His slow start in 2009 raised initial concerns about his ability to handle the pressure of playing in New York but his performance the rest of that regular season seemed to put those concerns to bed.  Teixeira ended the 2009 regular season with a batting average of .292, an on base percentage of .383 and 39 home runs.  He truly had a spectacular season and appeared to have been worth every penny the Yankees had signed him for.

Texeira’s poor postseason performance in 2009 didn’t gather much interest. After all, he was a major reason the Yankees entered the 2009 postseason as a number one seed in the AL and one poor postseason can happen to anyone. Even though he batted only .180 in the 2009 postseason and only .136 in the 2009 World Series, all seemed well.

In 2010 Teixeira’s struggles at the plate began. While he hit 33 home runs that season, his batting average and on base percentage took serious hits down to .256 and .365.   Even more troubling was his inability to hit right-handed pitchers. Teixeira hit only .244 vs right-handed pitchers in 2010.   The 2010 postseason rolled around and Texeira’s struggles in postseason as a Yankee continued.  Teixeira went 4-27 that postseason(.148) including a disastrous 0-14 in the ALCS against the Rangers.

Teixeira was banged up in the 2010 postseason, and a bad year can happen to any player, even one of Texeira’s caliber.  He didn’t receive much grief for that 2010 season.  His career performance, his 2009 Yankee season, and his top of the line fielding certainly called for a free pass and a fresh start in 2011.

In 2011 things started to get uglier for Mark Teixeira.  Confounded by the shift that teams were now employing against him due to his inability to hit the ball to the opposite field, Teixeira vacated the beautiful level swing that had previously made him a career .300 hitter.  An uppercut had taken the place of his old swing, and while the uppercut resulted in Teixeira matching his 2009 total of 39 home runs, his batting average dropped to a second straight career low of .248.  Even worse, his on base percentage dropped to .341 as pitchers simply didn’t fear him as they had in the past and began attacking him. His bb to at bat ratio dropped to its lowest point since the 2005 season.  His OPS declined to its lowest ever since his rookie season(.835).  The most damning statistic of the 2011 regular season for Mark Teixeira was his incredible drop in BAbip.  Teixeira’s BAbip dropped to a dismal .239.   The balls he put in play were dominated by weak ground balls and pop flies.

At the end of the 2011 Joe Girardi made the long overdue decision to replace Teixeira in the third spot in the order with Robinson Cano. While Girardi had been Texeira’s biggest fan in New York, even he couldn’t avoid the reality that a change had to be made.  In the 2011 postseason Teixeira confirmed his status as postseason zombie in New York.  Teixeira went 3-18 in the 2011 ALDS against the Tigers making him 3-32 in the Yankees last two postseason series eliminations and a huge reason why they went home.  It’s just undeniable that Mark Teixeira has been one of the biggest postseason disasters in Yankee history.  For those who want to argue “small samples”? Please spare me.  106 postseason at bats is certainly a large enough sample to draw the conclusion that Texeira can’t handle the pressure of the postseason so far as a Yankee.  Teixeira’s postseason stats as a Yankee are 106 ab’s, 18 hits, 8 extra base hits, 3 home runs, and 12 RBI’s.  His postseason batting average with the Yankees is an embarrassing .170 and he’s averaging one home run per every 35 postseason at bats as Yankee.  This just isn’t acceptable from a guy making 22.5 million dollars a year.

Teixeira has largely received a free pass from the media and fans during and after last season. The reasons for that are obvious.  Teixeira is a good-looking, philanthropic, devout Christian who chose the Yankees over their archrival Red Sox on that cold December 23rd of 2008.   He’s an easy guy to root for and a guy that fans and media alike want to succeed in New York.  That being said, at what point does Teixeira receive the scrutiny that A.J. Burnett received? After all, is hitting .256 and .248 with a lifetime postseason average as a Yankee of .170 with 3 home runs in 106 at bats acceptable at 22.5 million dollars a year? Is he earning his money any more than A.J. Burnett did?  In the offseason Teixeira suggested be might start bunting to beat the shift. A one hundred and eighty million dollar bunter? Really?

At some point Teixeira needs to be held accountable by everyone for his disappointment as a Yankee.  All great players have had to overcome adversity of some sort and Texeira’s inability to overcome the shift and focus in the postseason have hurt the Yankees.

At some point, no matter how popular or well-loved a player is, that player has to produce and earn his money.  While his home runs and fielding have been great, they haven’t been anywhere near 22.5 million a year great when the dramatic drop in batting average and on base percentage are factored in as well as his pathetic postseason play.

The Yankees need Mark Teixeira to produce this year more than ever in order to succeed.  Teixeira will likely be batting in the fifth spot in the order this season.  Teixeira is certain to have many key at bats with runners in scoring position that Jeter, Granderson, Cano and A-Rod will provide.  With an inconsistent Swisher and aged Ibanez likely following him in the order, Teixeira’s bat will be very important in both the regular season and postseason.  Teixeira needs to return to the level swing that once made him a .300 career hitter and increase his mental toughness. Sure, facing the shift and hitting in New York under the microscope of the postseason are stressful.  When you are making 22.5 million dollars a year you are expected to rise and meet those challenges.  It’s time for Teixeira to start getting it done.

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About Michael P.

I am a Saratoga Springs, Ny resident whose been sports obsessed since I was 5 years old.

Posted on March 27, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 71 Comments.

  1. Great article, Mike! I agree completely that Tex must step up to be the player we all thought he could be when he signed in late 2008. Great “Ole” plays on the first base line are simply not enough. We need him to hit for average, we need him to get on base, and we need RBIs. In the postseason.

  2. Excellent article Michael! We need Mark Teixeira to be a red hot hitter all year round including in the playoffs. The Yankees aren’t paying him $189 Million to sit there and look pretty.

  3. While I agree that it’s not fair how Teixeira has received a free pass from Yankee fans and media, I don’t agree that he needs to turn things around in order for the Yankees to be succcessful.

    Last season the Yankees scored the 2nd most runs in MLB, while being 3rd in wOBA and fWAR. All while Tex was going through those struggles hitting third for the vast majority of season, while ARod was only around for 99 games.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t help for Tex to get his BA up to .290, as batting average is the one area where the Yankee offense struggles (especially with RISP). But if the team can be as successful as it was in 2011, then I’m not worried about them at all in 2012.

    In fact, with a rotation that I feel much better about than I would be if the same rotation from 2011 returned, I have high hopes for this team.

    • The postseason choking is disgusting. It’s no small sample either. 6 different series and 106 at bats and he has 3 home runs, 12 RBI’s and is hitting .170.
      He’s got to return to that level swing that made him a real threat at the plate.
      I keep hearing about the Yankee offense last year but its a fact that they lived on the long ball.
      Its much harder to do that in the postseason vs the 1-2-3 pitchers of other playoff teams.

  4. As usual Michael good article:) I agree Teixeira still produces and all that stuff but he still needs to beat that shift and his average up. He hasn’t looked too bad so far this Spring so hopefully he can improve and have a great year.

    He definitely will be very important in the lineup because in key situations if he is up, just like anyone else, they need to produce and drive in the runs with a simple single or double. They can’t always depend on the HR

  5. one great post season and the majority of that talk will go away. Remember A-Rod had his problems then had an amazing run in the playoffs.

    Hopefully if the Yanks get to the playoffs this year Tex can have that kind of run.

    • Yes but he hasn’t had anything close to even acceptable yet, so until he does something like that he’s an overpaid underachiever.
      Texeira and Swisher have gone through the postseason like the walking dead since they got to NY.

  6. The good thing is Tex knows all of this and has made an effort to fix it.

    I think the drop to #5 in the lineup at the end of the yr was a bit of a wake-up call to him and he has said all of the right things since then. He’s worked with KLong on driving the ball the other way and we’ve seen a few instances of it this ST. He MUST use the whole field and level his swing to get his average back to an acceptable mark.

    The media has given him a bit of a pass not because he’s good-looking or Christian, but because he is an unbelievable fielder and guaranteed 30 HR -100 RBI guy. I’ve seen dozens of stories about how he needs to get his average up hitting LH so if he continues to pop up and hit grounders into the shift this yr the criticism will come.

    I agree that the Yankee offense is far too HR & Walk reliant. Against better pitching, you need a more well-rounded approach and have to get the big base hit when opportunities arise. Talk of the dominant Yankee offense is overblown IMO and the team needs to hit for a better average……Tex is the poster-boy for that.

  7. Great article man, hit the nail on the head here. I was big on the Teixeira signing and at the time it seemed he could potentially become the best switch-hitting Yankee since Mickey Mantle.

    After a great ’09 season I did give him a pass in 2010. But 2011 was simply horrible, and he’s even starting to decline a bit defensively as well. Teix is already 31, and he needs to right the ship now. Otherwise he will be the same #25 as his predecessor – Jason Giambi.

    Both came here as MVP caliber players with high OBP, AVG, and Runs. All of those categories dropped hugly, for both guys. Look at their stats. It’s scary how similar Giambi’s career in the Bronx was compared to Teix.

  8. Very good article Michael.

    Just one thing if I may…

    “For those who want to argue “small samples”? Please spare me. 106 postseason at bats is certainly a large enough sample to draw the conclusion that Texeira can’t handle the pressure of the postseason so far as a Yankee.”

    106 postseason ABs is enough of a sample size to say that Teixeira hasn’t handled the postseason well SO FAR. However, it is definitely NOT a large enough sample size to close the door on future postseason production from Teixeira. When people say that Tex needs to be traded citing his postseason struggles as the reason, then there is a problem with the argument, because looking at 106 ABs alone is hardly enough of an indicator for future performance.

    • As if anyone would trade for him anyway!! There isn’t a team out there who would trade anything for Teixeira without the Yankees eating a huge chunk of the 112.5 million GURANTEED dollars over the next 5 years.
      His contract right now is only behind A-Rod’s and Ryan Howard’s in terms of worst contracts in MLB.
      The Yankees are stuck with him for the next 5 seasons. He needs to work on his mental toughness. He’s a joke in the postseason and all the semantics in the world dont change that. He’s one of the biggest postseason disgraces in Yankee history.
      He can change this, but as he ages(I still don’t think people grasp that the PED era is over and that players over 30 start the slide down now just like they used to) it’s going to be harder to do.
      When you overpay and give a player too many years you realize that you are doing that, but are really paying for those first 3 or 4 years where you think the player can put you over the top. Teixera really blew two of those prime years that the Yanks thought they would get when they got him.

  9. Fangraphs has Tex rated as the 6th rated firstbasmen at 5.4 WAR, and first in defense with a URZ of 6.0. The shift has really hurt Tex hitting againsn’t RHP. I’m not sure if they were shifting on him before he came to the Yanks. I feel it is impossible to predict performance in the short series or playoffs. The playoffs have become random.

    • I think this is the ultimate copout, and I’m sick of seeing Yankee fans calling the playoffs random the last few years. Were all you guys calling the playoffs random when the Yankees won 4 times in 5 years? When they made the World Series 5 times in 6 years?
      The playoffs are anything but random, they are a microcosm of the regular season just as they have always been. The only thing that’s changed is that the Yankees have been dominated by postseason chokers the last two seasons and Arod’s disgraceful postseason series since the 2004 ALCS.
      Its really disrespectful to the teams whose players actually have guts and don’t wet their pants in October to say their accomplishments are random.
      Teixera and Swisher have been involved in 6 postseason series as Yankees now and are hitting .170 and .160 respepctively. If you want to call 106 at bats, over three seasons, in six different series random then go right ahead by I live in reality. These guys are choking mutts who can’t handle the pressure.
      Yankee fans have been rationalizing these postseason failures for a while now, and the buzzword of random has really gathered steam amongst Yankee fans(and Phillies fans). I bleed pinstripes and have been infuriated with the performance of these guys but will not make excuses.
      You cannot just decide that the playoff system that was in place when the Yankees established an incredible dynasty thats been in place through last season’s failure is now all of a sudden random without therefore stating that the dynasty was a fluke.
      You can’t have this both ways.
      As i said last night in response to those who think they understand statistics, sometimes things are much simpler than people want them to be. In the last two playoff series the Yankees were eliminated in, the three zombies(A-Rod, Swish, Teixeira) were 6-57(2010 ALCS) and 9-55(2011 ALDS) for a grand total of 15-112 in the last two elimination series. Look, you can pull all the stats you want to pull but when your 3-4-6 and 4-5-6 in the order go 15-112 over two series, you are going to lose most of the time. There’s NOTHING random about A-Rod, Teixeira, and Swisher being a disgrace to pinstripes in the postseason. It’s actually become expected.

      • My definition of choking would be a performance that is below the normal performance in key situations. Tex and Swisher have never hit well agains’t RHPing during the season, so I see no reason to think they will hit RHPing in the playoffs. Therefore they are not choking. Tex hitting has gone down drastically since the shift was put on him. That seems to be his problem. By my definition they are not choking.

  10. That ultimate copout is the truth like it or not.

    • Did you feel that way during the dynasty? In 2009?
      Fishjam had it right. This team has been too dependent on the long ball, not on moving the train. Its a copout and a bad rationalization Yankee fans should be above. 15-112? Really? Thats random? Its a pure choke is what it is.

      • Michael, you just have to look at the hero’s of the last 2 world series to see that baseball playoffs are random. David Fresse hits 2 homers, one pitch away from the Rangers winning. 2010 Rienteria hitting a HR to win the series, both teams beating out the Phillies with the best record in baseball the last two years. Adding more short playoff rounds has made baseball playoffs random, by that I mean the best teams don’t always win. In the old days, the Yanks would have played the Phillies last year to win the series. The 2 top teams in each league, play to win the championship, after battling for 162 games. This year the playoffs become even more random, with a 1 game playoff with the extra wild card. Adding playoff rounds make it much harder for the top teams that have earned it. Just look at the percentages, 2 teams 50%- 4 teams 25% –8 12 and a half %. All short series are random compared to a 162 game schedule. Look at the Football playoffs this year, the Giants were hardily considere the best team. Look at the NCAA tournament, alot of upsets, many rounds. Hitting is not a skill that can be turned on and off at willl, tjhe best players like Willie Mays and Ted Williams had poor showing in the playoffs. Sometimes in a short series you can pitch around a player, or the player is in a slump. In a short series as you mentioned your facing better pitching, better teams as you mentioned which are also factors. Look at the Yankee teams that have won championships recently and you’ll find the hero’s were not the best players. Leyritz,Brosius,Matsui,Curtis,and Knoblauch not exactly Murders Row. The pitching seems to be the constant on these teams. Pitching enables the so called clutch hit able to happen. Good pitching on one side and bad pitching on the other. Pitching other than maybe 15 aces in next ot impossible to predict, very random.

    • Pitching wins, the 1996-2000 clutch hitters for the Yanks became the 2001 chokers when they faced Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling. A-Rod actually helped win the 2009 world series bay carrying the team to the series, I quess you forgot about that. The playoffs have nothing to do with the regular season, otherwise the Cards and Rangers wouldn’t have been in the series.You can’t have it both ways.

      • Basball has 3 components and championship teams need all 3
        Pitching,defense and offense At different times 1 becomes more important than the other.
        You can’t win a game without scoreing!!!
        You can’t consistantly make it to the playoffs without a deep lineup.
        Shilling and Johnson pitched well but at the end of the day it was defense that cost the Yanks that series not shilling and Johnson.If MOE makes that play on the bunt Yaks win the series,Don’t they????

        • ballpark, we can all pick out something to make our points valid, Mo is an Immortal that made an error that cost them that game, but one play doesn’t make a series, the pitching I feel was the difference in that series. I quess Mo choked.

          • No the defense let you down.Moe makes that play 99 times out of 100.Yanks win the series even with the dominant pitching of schilling and Johnson.Yanks did have some clutch hits, big hits.Jete’s and Tino’s HR’s

          • Doug -
            If Mo closes that game like he does 95% of the time, the story would have been all the dramatic Yankee comebacks with HRs from Soriano, Jeter, Brosius, etc.. Point is you can’t say pitching is everything….pitching is important but there are 3 components to the game and the team that wins is the one who scores more runs, whether thru run prevention or run production.

            And to say all post-seasons in all sports are random isn’t the right word. Post-season is a shortened microcosm of the season and the team that brings it’s A-game and rises to the challenge advances. I don’t subscribe to the choke theory much but there are certain teams that are better equipped to handle better competition. I don’t know if the stats back me up but it seems that the last 2 yrs the Yanks have beat up on lesser teams and had a losing record against playoff teams

            • fishjam, the performance of Fresse an Verlander in the playoffs last year were hardly a microcosm of the season. Verlander ERA vs Yanks 5.00 vs. Texas 5.66 not quite Cy Young MVP numbers, more random. Last year I think the Yanks played the best agains’t the Rangers and worst agains’t the Sox. The Yanks were third in runs scored again’t the Sox 79, Tampa 73 1st, Texas 62 third behind LA and Oak. The Yanks score enough runs.

              • Sure they were. There were periods of time during the season when Freese hit well and Verlander pitched poorly.

                When you pitched in playoff games, did you say…”why should I even try since it’s all random anyway?” No, you went out and competed as hard as you could because you knew there was no tomorrow and if you executed better than the opponent you would beat them. It’s still the same game as the regular season except there is more at stake because losses send you home.

                As someone who played the game, how can you say games are random? It’s still about which team executes the best….you still have to outplay the other team. A coin flip is random, competition by definition is not random.

  11. Don’t you just love incredibly pessimistic Yankee fans? They make things so “fun”. That is, unless you go by the actual meaning of the word “fun”.

    • Bryan you have to call things as you see them. I was incredibly sure that the Yankees would blow Boston away last year in the East when the whole world said Boston was better.
      You’ll note that in the article I didn’t say Teixeira couldn’t do it, I said he must do it. If pointing his tragic BA of the last two seasons and his 18-106 with 3 Hr’s(LOL!!) as a Yankee in the postseason is “pessimistic” to you than we have different definitions of that word.
      If we can recall the dynasty years with fondness and the great players who didn’t shrink in the moment, we can certainly admit that the postseason zombies on this team have let the Yankees down.
      Am I hopeful that this year Swisher and Teixeira can hit in the postseason? YES!! As far as A-Rod goes, my first article on this site earlier this year was one about A-Rod and my feeling that he had legit excuses last year and should be sitting on a big year.

      • Why “must” Teixeira do it, though? How much better does the Yankees offense need to be? And why does the offense need to be better? Those are the questions you’re skipping here. Unless you’re writing this not for Mark’s sake, and not the Yankees’ sake.

        Of course, you have mentioned the offensive woes in the postseason. And while it’s true that the Yankees had the 3rd lowest OPS among the 8 playoff teams last season, in 2010 they had the highest OPS of the 8 teams in the postseason. So you’re really talking about a 5 game sample (those 5 games being from last season) when you say the team’s offense needs to improve in the postseason.

        So really, the only reason Teixeira NEEDS to get better, is so he earns the money he’s being paid. But shouldn’t we worry more about whether or not the team wins, and not whether a player earns his money? The money’s gone, there’s no changing that. The only reason to really care about that money now is if it prevents the team from making the necessary changes to improve. And I don’t see that being the case.

        So this all goes back to what’s best for Mark Teixeira, and not what’s best for the team.

        • So you *don’t* want to see Teixeira up his average, and thus possibly up his production, particularly in the postseason?
          I think it’s a valid point… the Yankees’ offense has choked the past two postseasons. Teixeira came up to bat with the bases loaded in Game 5 of the Division Series this year (following A-Rod striking out) and the best he could do was draw a walk. That was probably his most significant postseason contribution this year, but it was all for naught as Swisher followed him up with an out.

          • What are you talking about? Where in that post did I say I didn’t want to see Teixeira improve? Where have I ever said I didn’t want to see Teixeira improve?

            But you join in and keep showing me why Tex needs to improve, which I agree with anyway, making your posts a waste of yours and my time. I’ll wait for you or somebody else to show me WHY the TEAM needs him to improve. LOL, you just showed me that Teixeira did something in that situation, where it was ARod that failed to do anything by striking out.

            • Your view on this is typical of a fan who is unable to accept criticism where one of their favorite players is involved. So because the Yankees made it to the postseason on 97 wins, that’s good enough to say that no part of Tex’s game hurt them? It’s not to say the HE was the absolute reason, but it’s ridiculous to believe that his offensive shortcomings played no part in their short fall. Would it help to look at other sports to make the point clearer? Let’s see…

              The Miami Heat made it to the NBA finals, but loss because of their lack of offense against the Mavericks. But since they made it that far, it’s ok for LeBron James to not improve on clutch shooting at the end of games? Knowing that it COULD have made a difference?

              The Denver Broncos, against all odds made it to the playoffs, but lost because Tom Brady connected on so many passes early on, that the Broncos offense could not catch up to the Patriots. So because Denver made it there, that’s enough. Tim Tebow shouldn’t maybe realize that his lack of offensive skill as a quarterback may have cost them and perhaps he should do whatever necessary to improve throwing the ball?

              Whether your fandom allows you to acknowledge this or not, the bottom line is Tex is as responsible for the Yankees not going all the way last year as every other player on the team that did not do their job. Hitting .248 for a .300 hitter is not doing the job. Again, it’s not to say he’s the SOLE reason, but he is part of it. It would be nice for knowledgable Yankee fans to make an honest and thorough observation, without being judged for it.

              • *sighs and shakes head*

                Where did I say he had “no part” in hurting the team?

                Yes, Tex is as responsible as for the Yankees success or failure last year as every other player on the team that did not do their job. That’s goes exactly along with my point… the TEAM does not NEED Mark Teixeira to do “it” in order to win. They need to be a great TEAM.

                Not sure where I “judged” anybody either, but whatever.

                Hell, Mark is not one of my Yankees. Cano, Gardner, Jeter, Swisher, Sabathia, Pineda, Hughes, Nova, Robertson, and Rivera would definitely be above him on my list.

                • Typos strike back! I meant “Tex is as responsible for the success and failure of the Yankees as every other player on the team”.

                • Swisher is my least favorite Yankee. I hope he has a monster year so he can sign somewhere else.

                  • Fair enough, lol. He’s got the type of personality that some love and some hate. I live in Columbus, and I’m a Buckeye fan, so it would be strange if he weren’t one of my favorites.

                    • totally understand. just to smug for my liking. I hate to see him strikeout then he smiles right after. Makes me want to scream.

                    • Yeah, I can see how that’s infuriating. Doing that makes me think he just has too much fun playing this game, and he doesn’t want to let it bother him that he failed. That he’s smiling because he knows next time the pitcher won’t be so lucky (at least that’s what he’s hoping).

                      I’m sorry, I’m not trying to get you to change your mind. I just can’t help but defend one of “my” boys. LOL

            • I was just referring to the way you said “So this all goes back to what’s best for Mark Teixeira, and not what’s best for the team.”
              Just found it a funny word choice, because it insinuated him upping his game from where he is now wouldn’t help the team. haha

      • The underlying problem with the Yankee lefy’s Tex and Swisher is they don’t hit RHP very well. Swisher hit .232 last year and Tex .223, add other factors in the playoffs and you are going to get a poor performance, they are poor to begin with. It haa nothing to do with choking. To A-Rods credit, I feel he was hurt at the end of the season last year. He carried the Yanks through the 2009 playoffs, and the Yanks wouldn’t have won the series without him. Tex has been hurt by the shift, and the Yanks will just have to hope he makes adjustments. Swisher will be gone after this year, and you can bet he wil be replaced by a hitter who can hit leftys.

        • I agree on A-Rod. In 2010, our whole offense tanked during the ALCS, so you can’t make him a scapegoat, and this year I don’t quite understand why Girardi kept him in the cleanup spot when it was obvious he was struggling thanks to his injuries.

          • Eric, alot goes through a managers mind and sometimes they are put in a tough spot. Girardi knew A-Rod wasn’t 100%, but he didn’t want to move him down in the line up because he knew that a hurt A-Rod can still be good. He knew that if he moved him down like Torre did, he was setting him up to fail. He didn’t want to make waves, he wanted the team to be focused on the series, not the circus. He wanted to be the Gaints not the Jets.

          • You don’t make knee-jerk reactions like that, moving players up and down the lineup on any given day.

            Questioning guys like Girardi and Cashman is fine. It’s expected as a fan. But to use the word “obvious” is ridiculous. I don’t remember seeing your name in consideration for the Yankees manager or general manager in the recent past, so give me a break.

  12. Verlander was the best pitcher in baseball last year winning the Cy Young and MVP. In the plyoffs last year he had a 5.00 ERA vs. the Yanks, and a 5.66 ERA vs the Rangers. This was hardly a mirror of his season, I quess he choked.

    • He faced a lot of crummy teams in the AL Central during the season and faced the best during the playoffs. If all post-seasons are random, why play the games? Just flip a coin right? It’s still about competition….and the teams that go out and beat the other team advance, no different than the regular season except there is more urgency because there is no tommorow for losers.

      • fishjam, I know people like to have order and reasons for everything, but I feel by being random it goes agains’t peoples confort zone. Look your telling me Verlander is more of a 5.00 ERA pitcher than Cy Young winner, is that the word of reason? There is a big differenc in a short series at any time, you only have to win 3 out of 5. There is great parity in baseball and when your talking about 3 out of 5 even the Mets have a chance. The Yanks have won more world series than any other team, I think sometimes Yankee fans are spoiled thinking it is just have the best team and win. We can see it doesn’t work that way, just ask the Phillies and Halliday and Lee. I still can’t believe that Halliday and Lee haven’t won a series.

        • It isn’t randomness, it’s who executes the best on any given day why the Mets can beat the Yanks on any given day.

          • LOL, you just said it. “who executes the best on any given day”. The problem is even Sabathia, Verlander, Lee, and Halladay have “off” days. And one of those guys having an “off” day can easily make the difference between a win and a loss. And that doesn’t get into the other 2-3 starters a team throws out there.

            Ted Williams, possibly the best hitter in the history of the game, had “off” days as well. Albert Pujols, perhaps the best hitter the game has seen in decades, hit .240 for the World Series champs last year, and hit .200 for the World Series champs in 2006. Who was better than Pujols in the World Series last year? Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, David Freese, and Lance Berkman. Would you have thought Albert would be the 5th best hitter on the team in the Series? I don’t think so. But things like that happen, because of a little thing called “randomness”.

            Remember, the playoffs are 5-7 games series (not counting the 1 game playoff we have now). And there’s a reason a baseball season is 162 games long.

            • If everything is random why play the games? It’s about competition. People have off days at times, but it’s still competition and the team that executes better wins. By your definition the result of any game at any time is completly random and there is no use in trying to acquire the most taented team.

              When you get beat on any given day it’s because that team was better than you on that particular day. They out-executed you. It’s possibe for players with lesser talent to outplay more talented players on any given day. In a short series the chances are higher than a long regular season but it is folly to just call all postseasons in every sport random. If that’s the case, would you be willing to give equal odds on the result of any Championship game in any sport?

              When Villanova beat Georgetown in 1985 it was a massive upset. But it wasn’t because of randomness. It was because they OUTPLAYED a better team and made a ridiculous amount of their shots. To call their effort random cheapens it and takes away from any championship team.

              Definition of random:
              Governed by or involving equal chances for each item

              Coin flips are random. Competition is not. Gotta run to work….catch up tonight

              • The results of the regular season are not random, which is why they play 162 games. I said the postseason is random, as they play 1-5-7 games instead, making the margin of error miniscule.

                A pitcher can have an off day in the regular season, but still have 32 other starts to help the team. In the postseason some starters only get one game, let alone another 32.

                You want proof of the randomness of the game? The Phillies lost the season series to the Nationals 8-10. Detroit lost the season series to Seattle 4-6, but the Mariners were one of the worst teams in the AL. Texas lost the season series to the Twins 3-5, but the Twins were also one of the worst teams in the AL. Are the Nats better than the Phillies? Are the Mariners better than the Tigers? Are the Twins better than the Rangers?

                If Villanova and Georgetown played 7 games, instead of 1, then things may have been different. But that’s one thing I love about March Madness… you never know. Sucks the best team doesn’t always win (or rarely wins), but that’s what makes it great.

              • fishjam, so we agree then, that the playoffs are more random than the regular season. We have all been caught up in these new playoff systems that are more money makers than trying to find the best team. I do like the competition but on an equal playing field. That is not the case with today playoff system or regular season schedule. It’s all about the money like it or not. By having more playoff rounds and one game playoff, the leagues have cheapened themselves in search of the almighty dollar. The competition is great, it’s the analyzation of the competition that is bad. By your definition of randm, I would say the playoffs are much more random than the regular season.

        • One point you didn’t make is that a playoff series can be random because you’re talking about 3-4 starters per team. It’s not like a basketball team which sticks the same starting 5 out there the entire series (NBA), and uses the bench pretty much the same way too (barring fouls). A starting pitcher can make a huge difference on a team’s chances to win a game, and by having a starter throw in maybe 1 game per series does indeed make the outcome of the series a question.

    • In regular season vs the 3 playoff teams, TB, Yanks & TEX he threw 34 ip and had a 3.97 ERA. Not terrible, not great but far from the 2.16 ERA he had vs non-Playoff teams.

      • fishjam, that’s a very random sample, you can find that kind of sample with many other great pitchers like Kershaw, Halliday, or Lee. It’s easy to put a spin on it.

      • fishjam, this is a very small sample, just like the playoffs. The truth is their’s not way to tell who will win a short series when their is parity. Look at it this way, the best teams go 10-6 for the season and the worst teams go 6-10. That’s a four game difference, over 162 games. What is that percentage in a 5 game series?

        • fishjam, not 162 but 16 games. What I was so poorly trying to say is that their is parity in baseball, and when their is a small sample their become much less difference between teams and stats become irrelevent. The only way to get a true champion is to have the 2 best teams after 162 play each other with a balanced schedule. We know this is never going to happen again, therefore we have a random system.

          • Doug…random means equal chance for both sides…..although there is parity, it’s never quite equal. I gotta bounce buddy, look forward to chatting more tonight.

            • fishjam, I just fliped a coin 5 times, 4 tails, 1 head!

              • There is your definition of random Doug! 2 equal sides with no variables involved. Quite different than 2 teams of 25 human beings of different talent levels competiting in a sport.

                By definition competition is anything but random. All teams would have to be equal to have a random result and players are not robots, so their performance will not be the same at all times.

                Tell me if you are comfortable with this description of the playoffs:

                “The margin for error is greatly reduced in the playoffs because the winner is determined in 5 and 7 game series as oppossed to 162 games. By reducing the margin for error and raising the stakes of individual games, the chances of a lesser team to outperform a better team is heightened.”

                I just hate the excuse of calling all postseasons random because competition is the antithesis of randomness. And if we all believed results were random, why not call on Cesar Cabral to close games in the playoffs? If it were random, he would be as likely to close a game as Mariano.

                • fishjam, I know how uncomfortabel you are with randomness of the playoffs. That was your definition of random. Random has many interpretations. I’m using it in the sense of predictability or lack there of of events. The 5 or 7 game playoffs make the lack of predictability greater, therefore more random. It’s wierd but Cabral reminds me of Marte who came out of nowhere being injured all year and helping the Yanks win the 2009 series He didn’t close but he hasn’t pitched since. Thats what I mean by random.

        • Doug…totally agree that the room for error in a short season is much smaller. But I just don’t like to call all the games random, it’s stil about the team that plays the best that day. Gotta get to work, talk with ya later.

          • fishjam, I agree, with that 100%, but when we break down all the players in a microcope it becomes more than how a player plays that day, it become how he is a failure. Fangraphs or any other sabermetrics will tell you that Tex is not a failure, he is one of the best firstbasmen in the game that helped the Yanks get to the playoffs. The Yanks get to the playoffs every year with a 162 game schedule which no other team in baseball has been able to do.

  13. i see your point about Swisher Bryan. Still not gonna change my mind though. :-)

  14. I don’t mind Tex laying a bunt down no and then, if only to keep them honest. More to the point though he has to stop trying to pull outside pitches, those are the weak groundfers you mentioned. I have noticed he has been trying to drive the ball back up the middle or even oposite field on the fly this spring, so maybe this year that BABIP can get an uptick and we won’t have to worry about a low avg/OBP.

    As for the playoffs, you bet ya. Guy has barely been much better than Swish in the post-season, though Tex does have a walk-off to his credit with us (2009 versus Twins).

    In the playoffs the pitching caliber is so good they can do nothing but throw you what they want most of the time, inducing those pop-ups and weak ass grounders to the 2d basemen in short right.

    Hitters with weaknesses get exposed by playoff pitching real quick. See: Alfonso Soriano post-2003 World Series. (Seriously, I never saw so many sliders a half foot off the plate and breaking away in my life)

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