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Mark Teixeira Pwns Bruce Chen

I’ve seen cases where batters have had good records against pitchers before but I don’t ever remember seeing anything quite like what Mark Teixeira has done against Bruce Chen. Strange combination, right? I know, but the numbers speak for themselves. Prior to Thursday’s Yankees/Royals game, Mark Teixeira was 7-for-11 against Chen. Six of his seven hits were home runs and the seventh was a double. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a ridiculous 3.030 OPS. You can’t even do that on a video game.

Teixeira was back in usual form against Chen on Thursday in the Bronx, mashing an RBI double and a single in his first two ABs vs. the lefty. He did strike out in his third at-bat of the game before Chen was lifted. Teixeira ended up 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. In 14 career at-bats against Chen, Tex is now 9-for-14 with six home runs and two doubles. That’s good for a healthy .643/2.143/2.810 line. That is pure pwnage unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Sources:
Mark Teixeira’s splits [Baseball-Reference]

Mark Teixeira Running Over Bobby Wilson: Clean or Dirty?

Two weeks ago, the Angels had a surplus at the catcher position. After this weekend, they’re somewhat thin. Things started a week ago when Jeff Mathis, who had been hitting his way into a regular gig, got hit on the wrist trying to block a pitch in the dirt. He landed on the disabled list with a fracture. Then on Friday night, minor league call-up Bobby Wilson was plowed over by Mark Teixeira at the plate and suffered a concussion. He too is now on the disabled list. The big question that emerged over the weekend was whether or not Teixeira’s play was dirty. I say no. Watch the video of Mark Teixeira running over Angels catcher Bobby Wilson and let me know what you think:

To me, that was a bang-bang play and Teixeira was ensuring that he scored the run. As a catcher, if you’re prepared to block the plate to keep the running from scoring, then you also have to be prepared to get hit. Just because Wilson got hit in the head and wound up on the disabled list doesn’t change that Teixeira went in hard to make sure he scored. I wouldn’t have wanted my player to go into home any other way. Even Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a former catcher who mastered the art of blocking the plate, said the play was clean. Others like Torii Hunter are probably upset one of their teammates wound up on the DL and suggested Teixeira was getting revenge for being hit by a pitch earlier in the game. That sort of passion and pride is what makes Hunter such a good teammate. I just don’t think there was anything wrong about Teixeira’s play, and neither did Wilson. It’s just unfortunate that Wilson wound up hurt.

Sources:
Some Angels question Teixeira collision [ESPNLA]
Angels’ Wilson ‘fuzzy’ but holds no grudges over collision [OC Register]
Mark Teixeira’s Collision At Home [The Big Lead]

Uh oh, Mark Teixeira Doesn’t Know Teammate David Robertson’s Name!

Something that allowed the Yankees to beat the Twins on Mark Teixeira’s walk off home run in the 11th (aside from umpire Phil Cuzzi missing the Joe Mauer double call), was the Yankees’ ability to escape the jam in the 11th. The Twins got three straight singles to start the inning (and don’t ask me why Mauer wasn’t sent home on Cuddyer’s hit) but they then stranded the bases loaded with nobody out. Despite giving up a single to Cuddyer, David Robertson retired the side to pull off the Houdini. Considering he’s the guy who allowed Mark Teixeira the chance to be the hero, you figure Tex would at least know his own teammates name. Check out the blunder by Teixeira in the postgame news conference where he refers to his teammate, David Robertson, as Nate Robertson, who’s a pitcher for the Tigers:

Come on Mark, you’re better than that! I realize that David’s just a reliever who’s pitched a little over 40 innings this season but you gotta know you’re own teammate’s names! Maybe Tex is just channeling his inner Rickey Henderson.

Rick Sutcliffe: A-Rod and Teixeira Stealing Signs and Helping Each Other?

One of the allegations against Alex Rodriguez to come out in the paparazzi-style book about him was that he would tip pitches to opponents late in games in hopes that they would return the favor. This was said to occur only in blowouts as a way to boost statistics. Well it appears as if A-Rod’s tipping ways are still in effect, just now he’s doing it to help his teammates. In a rare instance where a color analyst actually provided some excellent insight into a game, ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe may have picked up on something quite interesting during the Rangers/Yankees Wednesday night game.

Sutcliffe claims that in the first inning Alex Rodriguez used a verbal sign to indicate pitch location for Mark Teixeira while A-Rod was in the on-deck circle. Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia gave his pitcher the sign early and set up inside before his pitcher began his windup. According to Sutcliffe, that gave A-Rod plenty of time to whistle to Teixeira, indicating that the catcher was setting up inside. Teixeira wound up turning on the pitch and launching it above the bleachers in left field, a pretty brilliant blast to be sure. When they got into the dugout after each player’s at-bat, the two sluggers appeared to flash the “O.K.” sign at each other as a way of saying “nice job, that worked perfectly.”

Now if you want to say that they weren’t setting each other up with help, you would argue that they were flashing the O.K. sign as a way to signify that the pitcher threw him a circle changeup (the circle changeup is held with an O.K. sign as a grip). Believe me, Tex didn’t bash a changeup so I’m not buying that one. Sutcliffe showed a whistling sound when they replayed the highlight and he was dead certain that A-Rod and Tex were in cahoots. If that’s the case, is that crossing the line or them just taking advantage of circumstance? I know opposing teams frown upon stealing signs like that, but it seems to me like Tex and A-Rod are doing a good job helping each other out. It also really would support the assertions in the book too. Besides, I have to admit, I’ve had third base coaches tip pitches or location to me using verbal cues when I played, so I won’t say this is playing dirty. I’m not sure how other teams will see it other than to say they’ll be more careful next time if they’re smart. Check out video of the Teixeira 2-run home run below:

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Maybe That’s Why Mark Teixeira Didn’t Sign with the Red Sox

Mark Teixeira took a long time deciding where he would sign as his agent, Scott Boras, floated rumors regarding which teams were involved in the bidding for the high-priced free agent. The Angels were a player, as were the Nats and Orioles because of the hometown factor. The Red Sox were said to be closing in on a deal for Tex but then they said they were no longer a factor in the bidding. Not much later the Angels took their offer off the table and Teixeira unexpectedly signed with the Yankees. So what happened behind the scenes that made the Red Sox and Angels drop out of the running after appearing to be leading candidates? Murray Chass via SbB says it’s because Teixeira simply did not want to live in Boston:

“He just didn’t want to go to Boston,” the official said. “He didn’t want to be a Red Sox so Boras called the Yankees and said he really wants to be a Yankee.”

“The family issues and where they reside were obviously part of the decision. Tex and his wife had their discussions. I don’t know what that dialogue was.”

That last quote about the family issues were from Boras who said the deciding factor was the difference in the offers on the table, not geography. That quote seems to indicate otherwise. Knowing that Teixeira was an East Coast guy I figured the Angels were low on the radar though a team to be considered. It’s hard to know if that’s the reason Teixeira signed with the Yankees, but it seems like where his family wanted to live could be a factor. So could the $180+ million they offered him. In this scenario Teixeira got to go to a good team and get top dollar rather than a crappy team with good money (like the Nationals were offering). As long as the Yankees were willing to pay more than the Angels and Red Sox, why not take their money?

If You’re the Yankees and You Can Do it, Why Wouldn’t You?

Before free agency began, in a pool with some friends, I had predicted the Yankees would sign CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. The reasoning? If they can do it, why not? While shedding payroll this offseason, the Yankees sure have stepped up and added on some serious contracts. Should they sign one or two more players before the season starts, the Yankees would be close to committing a half billion dollars to players in one off season. It’s crazy when you think about that type of money. Then again, it’s no surprise that the Yankees have thrown this much money around.

I joked a few months ago that Hank Steinbrenner wanted to file a grievance against the Brewers for abusing the arm of their guy (Sabathia had about four straight starts on three days of rest, throwing complete games mostly). I wasn’t far off from the truth. With the way the team performed — missing out on the playoffs to the Rays and Red Sox — you knew they would spend wildly to make up for the embarrassment. They have not disappointed. Really, if they had just pulled the trigger on the Johan Santana trade last off-season and none of this would be happening. But they didn’t, and this is the result. I really only think the Burnett contract was bad because I don’t think he’ll produce in the Bronx. Sabathia they may only wind up paying for three years if he opts out and you can’t knock a team for locking up the top pitcher on the market. And if you have the cash for Teixeira, why not buy him? It’s a leg up on the Red Sox and Angels, and he’s a good ballplayer. I’d say signing Derek Lowe would cap off the incredible offseason for the Yanks.

Imagine how much fun it is to be Joe Girardi and to have all these new toys to play with for Christmas? The signings don’t make the Yankees unbeatable but it makes them much tougher. Injuries can still easily do a number on them like last year and keep them out of the playoffs, but don’t bet on it. Why not just sign another starting pitcher as an insurance policy? If you’re the Yankees and you can do it, then why not?

Mark Teixeira Just Another A-Rod Clone?

One of the big stories that will loom over the baseball offseason is where Mark Teixeira will sign. He’s arguably the biggest free agent position player on the market, so his departure from the Angels to another team will certainly swing a balance of power — literally and figuratively. While there’s no denying that Tex is one of the premier first baseman in the majors, he’s not as good over the course of a season as he was in the half-seasons once he was traded to the Angels and Braves in the last two years. For that matter, only Albert Pujols is capable of producing at that rate over the course of 162 games — Teixeira is one of the few players capable of producing that well over a 50-game span. Numbers aside, the Angels figure to make a big push to retain Teixeira, and the Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles all figure to get into the bidding (the Yankees being the most prominent suitor). Though Teixeira appears to be an ideal replacement for Jason Giambi in the Bronx, his signing would be met with mixed reviews according to some. Apparently Teixeira really resembles Alex Rodriguez in many undesirable ways:

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