Rangers mess with Tex in first two games
Yankees slugger hopes returning home will end ALCS slump
ARLINGTON -- Before the American League Championship Series began, the big question was, did the Yankees' pitching staff receive too much rest after sweeping the Twins in the AL Division Series?
That same inquiry could be posed regarding first baseman Mark Teixeira, who went hitless in a 7-2 loss in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Rangers on Saturday.
In two games against Texas, Teixeira went 0-for-8, although his key walk in the eighth inning of Game 1 sparked New York's comeback victory on Friday night.
Teixeira refused to use the long layoff as part of the reason that he finds himself hitless. He said the Rangers simply pitched well against him.
"It's always back and forth, up and down. I'm not going to blame anything on a layoff," Teixeira said. "I give those [Rangers pitchers] credit over there."
Teixeira has a point. This postseason isn't the only time Texas has been able to handle the switch-hitter. During the regular season, Teixeira was 4-for-24 (.167) against the Rangers. He also has a career .263 average against them.
"Their pitching has really stepped up this season," Teixeira said about the Rangers' pitchers. "Everyone in baseball knows good pitching beats good hitting. If they can go out and shut us down, we have to scratch and claw and score some runs."
Teixeira is hoping going back to Yankee Stadium, starting on Monday night at 8 p.m. ET, can fix his problems at the plate. He is hitting . 288 at his home ballpark this season.
"Home is always better," Teixeira said. "It has a better backdrop. You are comfortable in your surroundings. You sleep in your own bed. You have your own routine, and every team plays better at home."
Although he hasn't been much of a factor so far, Teixeira is happy to split the first two games in Texas.
"I wish we could have won tonight," he said. "Obviously, you want to win every game. And to win one out of two and go back home in front of our home fans and a chance to win the series at home, it feels good.
"We faced really good starting pitchers, and they were dominate. And for us to be able to split with the way those two guys [C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis] pitched, you have to feel confident."
Game 3 would figure to be a tough one for Teixeira when he'll face left-handed ace Cliff Lee, who is undefeated in the postseason and beat the Yankees twice in the 2009 World Series as a member of the Phillies.
Based on his career numbers, Teixeira may be able to get out of his funk against Lee. Teixeira is 10-for-30 (.333) with one home run and six RBIs against the left-hander.
"We have to score more runs than they do. Hopefully, our pitchers will go out there and pitch well and we can scratch and claw and get a few runs off Cliff," he said. "Cliff deserves all the accolades and all the attention.
"At the same time, we have a job to do and we are going to try to beat him. We faced him enough. We know what he throws, we know what he is going to do. We expect him to be on top of his game, so we have to be on top of our game."
Especially Teixeira, the Yankees' biggest run producer this season.