Tuesday, October 07, 2008
On Mark Teixeira
Teixeira came to the plate 20 times in the post-season, and made only 9 outs. He finished the series with a line of 467/550/467. It's completely fair to point out that he didn't deliver an extra base hit. But the fact is that he still put up a 1.017 OPS for the series, by far the best on the team. In addition, he played stellar defense at first base.Except that, no. The reason you get Teixeira in the lineup is because he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. You get him because Earl Weaver was right. You want a slap-hitting, high-average singles hitter (what they got in the ALDS with Teixeira)? Kenny Lofton was available in spring training, for free.
In short, he was the Angels' best player in the series. Calling him a disappointment is not only inaccurate, it's unfair. It would be like criticizing a starting pitcher for holding the other team scoreless in his starts, but not pitching deep enough into games.
Teixeira was terrific in the playoffs, and he was preternatural in the second half. He was friggin' superman in the bottom of the ninth in that line drive pick of the Shields mistake. Get over yourself for once, and give a player his due. The Angels didn't lose because of Teixeira. The Angels lost because of "contact" hitters like Aybar, Kendrick and Anderson who don't make contact against good pitchers; because of the flawed offensive philosophy they represent; because of a manager who manages by template; and because of predictable mistakes in crucial moments by Santana, Shields and Frankie.
Shake your frackin' head and at least place the blame where it's due. With all due respect, you're talking like an irrational emotional wreck. If you can't take a step back and be a little objective, you're like every bad LA Times writer you've savaged for the past several years. Too much so, in fact.
Clear sight, man. If you start writing to the template, you're just another Scioscia...a paper tiger in another medium.
Looking at the WPA graphs of the four games (Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4), it's pretty clear that the number one contributor to Angels failures is Howie Kendrick, and that's without his mangled DP ball in game 4 (which wouldn't show up in an events log for the game anyway). But if Teixeira is, in fact, a singles hitter in the postseason when facing superior pitching, doesn't that dilute his value? There's just no way you can deny that. Just as Vlad's postseason disappearances (he went 0-fer in two straight games in the 2004 ALDS) have limited his value there, so, too, has Teixeira's diminished ability.
Chone Figgins walked ZERO times. Aybar got on base twice. If those two, between them, had gotten on base three or four more times, Teixeira probably winds up with 3 or 4 RBI's instead of 1, even if he still only hits singles. At the surface that doesn't look all that big, except games 2 - 4 were decided by two runs or less.
I'm fine with saying it's disappointing we didn't get a homerun or two from the middle of our order, but those guys did more than their fair share to get us some wins.