Mark Teixeira did not have an easy go of it in April. Through May 2, Teixeira was hitting just .182/.354/.338, a slow start by his standards, and the 19 walks he had was indicative of the lack of protection. With Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup, opposing pitchers could dance their ways around Teixeira.
Since May 3, though, Teixeira has really turned it on. He’s 16 for his last 49 (.327) with 5 HR and 14 RBI. In the middle of the hot stretch, the Yankees welcomed Alex Rodriguez back to the lineup, and while A-Rod is still feeling his way through his first few games, Teixeira has enjoyed the protection. He is hitting .367/.444/.767 with A-Rod behind him, and Saturday’s win was all about Mark and Alex.
The Yankees downed the Twins 6-4 in 11 innings on Saturday as Mark Teixeira went 4 for 4 and Alex Rodriguez slammed a walk-off two-run home run into the left field seats. It was the Yankees’ second straight walk-off win and fourth consecutive victory as the Bombers continued their Bronx dominance over the Twins.
Early on in the game, Joba Chamberlain was the story. Chamberlain was coming off of two strong starts. He had given up 7 ER over his last 11.2 innings, and all of those runs scored in the 1st innings of their respective games. So the Yankees had Joba “pitch” the first inning in the pen. He threw 15 extra pitches during warm-ups and came out firing blanks. He sailed through the first and struck out two.
I have to question the utility of the extra warm ups though. Two games of first inning struggles does not a trend make, and Joba’s success today could be the result of the warm ups or it could just be a result of better pitching. If the pitches the Yanks have Joba throw in the pen are going to limit his ability to go deeper into games or deeper into the season as a starter, then this plan does not benefit the team.
Anyway, Joba, averaging above 93 and maxing out at 97 with his fastball today, was in line for a win when he left after six strong innings. While he walked too many Twins, he struck out six and gave up just three hits. It was 3-2 Yanks when Jose Veras came in. Veras lasted one out — and three batters. So with two on, Phil Coke cleaned up Jose Veras’ mess.
It was then that Joe Girardi made what I considered to be a bad decision. With Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau up in the 8th, Girardi stuck with Coke while Mariano Rivera, one of the game’s all-time best relievers, watched. Coke retired Mauer and gave up the lead on a Morneau home run. Eventually, Coke gave up another run as well.
The story gets worse. On a two-out Mark Teixeira RBI, the Yanks tied the game in the 8th, and then Mariano pitched a scoreless 9th. When the Yanks didn’t pull it off in the 9th, Rivera pitched the 10th as well. Why could Rivera pitch the 9th and 10th but not the 8th and 9th? I know every manager would make the same move, but it still does not make much sense to me.
Anyway, the Yanks’ bats did the job. Mark Teixeira went 4 for 4 with a three-run home run, a double and a pair of singles. He drew a lead-off walk in the 11th and scored the winning run on Alex Rodriguez’s first home run at the new Yankee Stadium. All was right in the Yankees’ world.
Feel free to use this recap as your Saturday night open thread. It’s a quiet night in the world of sports, and we’ll be back later tonight with your regularly scheduled DotF.