The curiously slumping Mark TeixeiraBy
It seems like every time Mark Teixeira steps up to the plate someone mentions — whether on Twitter or on the broadcast — that he hasn’t hit a home run in X at bats. That number reached 107 plate appearances last night. While home runs are nice, they’re not the only thing a player can do to help his team. Problem is, the home run drought has masked a 107 plate appearance slump for Teixeira.
Tex’s season numbers still look good: .281/.387/.548. But over his last 104 plate appearances he’s been at .258/.365/.326, recording just six extra base hits, all doubles, over that span. It’s not as bad as his early-season woes, but for a guy with Teixeira’s numbers and ability it certainly represents a slump.
When Teixeira slumped through April and the beginning of May, then subsequently surged though the rest of the month, commentators claimed in hindsight that Teixeira was seeing more fastballs with A-Rod back in the lineup. Of course, that’s just made up. Teixeira did not see more fastballs upon A-Rod’s return. He actually saw a few more fastballs in April, while he was slumping. The media can’t blame A-Rod for Tex’s troubles this time around. The cleanup hitter sports a .270/.453/.556 line since Teixeira’s last home run.
Now that we’re aware of Tex’s slump beyond the home run drought, what happens? Nothing, likely. Joe Girardi isn’t going to switch A-Rod and Teixeira in the order, and he’s made that abundantly clear with his actions. The Yankees are 12-8 since his last homer, which is an excellent pace (about 97 wins if extrapolated). They’ll continue to play through it, hoping that he goes on another .360/.441/.824 run like he did from May 7 through the date of his last home run, June 12. He did, after all, hit .366/.464/.656 in the second half last year.
It is kind of curious, though, that Tex’s slump coincides with his power outage. Even in his 122 plate appearance slump to start the year he managed five homers and four doubles for a .384 SLG — against a .192 BA, leaving him with a .192 Iso-P, while in his latest slump his Iso-P is just .068. One has to wonder if there’s something else going on, but without anything to go on, all we can do is call this what it is — a slump.