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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

On Mark Teixeira

I don't mean to turn this into a bash-fest — sincerely, it's not meant that way at all — but while I understand Seitz's perspective on Teixeira's postseason performance, it is also incomplete:
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.

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.

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.


Lofton's lifetime OPS is .795, and his last full season was .781.
Wow, so that's what, .200-.300 worth of difference? Did the Angels win any games because of that?
You're simply wrong here, Rob. You're not even considering the level of pitching Teixeira faced, which was considerable. If you think getting on base 11 of 20 times against Lester, Matsuzaka and Beckett is a meager feat, then you're blind and stupid. Since I know that you're not blind and stupid, then you're either wrong or willfully contrary, or both.

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.
co-sign maxwell, as they say. Rob, I find your negativity relentless, but mostly inarguable. I think your postseason analysis was on point, and I even agree with you about Willits (a good dude who I wish could play more). further, I keep coming back to 6-4-2 because Rev's emotional rantings on the blog and to his comments are just over the top... but I think this "Tex-as-disappointing-singles-hitter" line of thinking is just as irrational. Did the Angels win any games because of Teixeira's .300+ OPS? No, because Teixeira couldn't defend more than one position and pitch at the same time. But damn, man, wouldn't you have killed for a timely hit from Kendrick or Rivera? (200 points of OPS from either of those guys might have swung every loss)
just to clarify, Tex's 300+ OPS is meant to signify the gap between him and the typical OPS of a true "slap hitter," not that I think he OPS'd 300 in the postseason.
So, unless I agree with you, Maxwell, I'm not using my head, is that it? I'm not allowed to say his non-XB performance is disappointing in the extreme? Maxwell, you make it sound like I'm blaming him for the Angels' collapse solely or even mainly. That's not true; clearly, K-Rod, had he lived up to his nickname in one critical place, would have made a big difference in this series.

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.
I think Teix's power outage has more to do with just the normal fluctuations in performance. They played 4 games. He was getting hits all over the place, and had his share of walks, something Howie Kendrick didn't do. Who's to say that Teix wouldn't have hit 2 HRs in game 5, or that he wouldn't have put up another two or three in the ALCS? Sometimes, even the best power hitters will go a few games without hitting one out (how many did David Ortiz hit, by the way, or Kevin Youkilis?), especially when facing generally superior pitching. Yeah, an HR here or there would have made a huge difference. Then again, a couple of bombs from Ortiz and the series wouldn't have been as close as it was.
I don't think there's any way you can put any blame on Tex. The Angels faced three of the better pitchers in the AL. Yes, it would have been nice if anyone other than Napoli had hit a homerun, but when a guy OPS's over 1.000, I don't see how you can fault him.

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.

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