Have Yanks newbies Teixeira and Burnett found postseason groove?
NEW YORK --
But just as Rodriguez eventually righted himself, so too did Teixeira. When he batted in the fourth, the Yankees were down 1-0 in the game and the series. They had only scored one run in 12 innings against the Phillies. Rodriguez had cooled from his torrid pace. The Yankees needed their other high-priced slugger -- the one whose contract pays him
With one vicious swat, at a high change-up from
Rodriguez carried the Yankees through the first two rounds of the playoffs, but now that he is 0 for 8 with six strikeouts in the World Series, it may be Teixeira's turn. He is a famously slow starter, at least when it comes to the regular season, and this April he batted just .200 with three home runs. He looked burdened by the contract and also by Rodriguez's hip injury, which added pressure and deprived him of protection in the lineup.
Once Rodriguez returned, and Teixeira found his routine, he was among the most potent sluggers in baseball. He batted .330 in May with 13 homers, en route to a wildly successful first season in New York. Teixeira befriended Rodriguez, avoided controversy and blended easily into the clubhouse. Teixeira fits every stereotype of the modern Yankee, never a hair out of place, posture perfectly upright, keenly aware of his image in addition to his numbers.
One of the Yankees' other new additions, starting pitcher
With an untouchable curveball, Burnett baffled the Phillies for seven innings, another proud night for The Natural State. While Teixeira showed that the Yankees batting order can survive a Rodriguez slump, Burnett showed that the starting rotation can survive a
It's not that Teixeira or Burnett were hopeless before. Burnett had two quality starts in these playoffs. Teixeira hit a walk-off home run against Minnesota in Game 2 of the ALDS and a three-run double against the Angels in Game 5 of the ALCS. But they were both terribly inconsistent, which might have been expected of Burnett, but not Teixeira. He approaches every day the same -- "Some people would call me obsessive compulsive," he said -- to reduce the variance in his performance.
The off day.