Yanks' Teixeira remains upbeat despite slump

BY foxsports • November 9, 2009

A high-priced slugger is having a hard time in the postseason with the New York Yankees. No, not that one. This time, it's Mark Teixeira who looks out of sorts at the plate. While Alex Rodriguez is piling up RBIs in the cleanup spot behind him, Teixeira is searching for answers in his first postseason after signing a $180 million, eight-year contract with New York in January. "Maybe I'm expanding the zone a little bit, I don't know," he said. "Maybe I'm trying to do too much, I don't know. The problem is that every single game's new, every pitcher's new. You're facing a righty. You're facing a lefty. So try to go out and have good at-bats." Teixeira went 1 for 5 in the Yankees' 8-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, sending the World Series back to the Bronx for Game 6 on Wednesday. He doubled and scored in New York's three-run rally in the eighth but struck out with a runner on second to end the game. The lackluster night dropped the switch hitter's postseason average to .172 with two homers, seven RBIs and 16 strikeouts. He is 2 for 19 in his World Series debut. "They're really pitching him really tough," catcher Jorge Posada said before the team worked out at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. "They are pitching him tough, tight on him, and then throwing breaking balls and off-speed stuff away." Teixeira was terrific during the regular season, making a seamless transition to playing ball in the Big Apple. He hit .292 with 39 homers, tying Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena for the AL lead, and 122 RBIs. He also played stellar defense at first base, saving plenty of runs with his reliable glove work. The All-Star slugger got off to a nice start in the playoffs, winning Game 2 of the division series against the Twins with a leadoff homer in the 11th inning. But he quickly fell off from there. "Unfortunately during this playoffs it's been tough to get into a rhythm," Teixeira said. "When you're in a rhythm during the season, you're going to fail seven out of 10 times. When you're not in a rhythm, you're going to fail a lot more than that and unfortunately for me, that's kind of been the case right now." Teixeira made it to the postseason for the first time last year, batting .467 (7 for 15) when the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Boston Red Sox in four games in the first round. This is his first extended run in the playoffs, and he acknowledged he's still getting used to all the extra off days. "I'm not going to make any excuses because everyone's had to deal with it but it hasn't been easy," he said. "It definitely hasn't been." The 29-year-old Teixeira doesn't have to look very far for consolation. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia's All-Star first baseman, has driven in just one run against the Yankees and struck out 12 times, tying Willie Wilson for the World Series record. New York also leads the Fall Classic 3-2 and can win their 27th title with a victory against Pedro Martinez and the Phillies in Game 6. Teixeira hit a tying homer off Martinez in the fourth inning of the Yankees' 3-1 victory in Game 2. "My teammates have been picking me up all season," Teixeira said. "I've been picking them up all season. That's just the way a team works and right now we're in a great spot. We're 3-2, have a chance to win tomorrow and I'm just going to try to go have good at-bats."