Mark Teixeira found it hard to stay in rhythm last year with an irregular playoff schedule. That hasn't been an issue this October.
"I got some pitches to hit," Teixeira said after helping the Yankees clinch an ALCS berth for the second year in a row. "Sometimes you have to get lucky. You have to have balls fall in. A home run stays fair for you. That's baseball.
"This was a good three games for me and the whole team."
After slumping throughout the Yankees' championship run last year, Teixeira has excelled this postseason. The superstar first baseman was the Game 1 hero with a tie-breaking two-run homer, again reached base twice in Game 2 and drove in the second run of the Yankees' series-clinching 6-1 win last night with a frozen-rope single to left.
Teixeira finished 4-for-13 for the three-game sweep with the homer and a team-high-tying three RBIs. Last year he had just eight RBIs in 15 games covering all three postseason rounds.
Now Teixeira, who has been nursing a broken toe and a bruised right thumb since late August, is going to the ALCS for the second time in two seasons as a Yankee. He said his health is improving.
But Teixeira will now get five days off before Game 1 of the ALCS Friday. The rest probably won't hurt.
"No doubt," he said. "I think it's going to be good for a lot of us. We really battled the last part of the season."
Last night, after striking out in his first at-bat against lefty Brian Duensing, Teixeira ripped a two-out single over Delmon Young's head in left field in the third inning, bringing Nick Swisher in from second for a 2-0 Yankee lead.
Teixeira suffered against both of the Yankees' potential ALCS opponents during the regular season. He hit .162 in 68 regular-season at-bats against the Rays and .167 in 24 turns versus the Rangers.
The former Ranger insisted he wouldn't prefer to play Texas - or not play Texas - because of his history there.
"Oh, no. If we play Texas or Tampa, those are two great teams," Teixeira said. "Either one we play is going to be a fun series."