Singles a rarity so far for Teixeira
Now there is something you do not see every day. Mark Teixeira got a single in the second inning Saturday. Facing the Mets’ fireballer Matt Harvey, Teixeira hit a soft spinner to the left side against the exaggerated shift applied by the Mets and beat it out for a single.
It was Tex’s 13th hit of the season but only the second single. He has become an extra-base hitting machine with four doubles and seven home runs, including a pair of two-run, second-deck shots to right field in the Yanks’ 6-1 victory Friday night.
Teixeira entered the game batting only .218, but his other offensive numbers are monstrous. He ranks fifth in the American League in slugging percentage at .673 and seventh in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging at 1.006. There is another stat called Isolated Power that measures extra-base efficiency. It is derived by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage. Teixeira’s .455 IP was the highest in the majors entering play Saturday.
Yankees pitchers had not allowed a home run in five straight games, the team’s longest such streak since an eight-game run from July 10-20, 2011. Mets first baseman Lucas Duda ended that streak in the first inning with a solo shot to right field off Yankees starter CC Sabathia. It was only the second long ball yielded in 21 innings this year by the big lefthander.
The third homer off Sabathia this year would prove more damaging. It was a two-run shot by Kevin Plawecki, the rookie catcher who was called up to fill in for injured Travis d’Arnau, out with a broken right hand.
Plawecki’s first major league home run and RBIs capped off a four-run fourth inning that might have been worse if not for some dazzling play in the outfield by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.
Ellsbury shaded towards right-center against Eric Campbell made a mad dash to left-center field and made a lunging catch to avert a sure double and a possible triple. Lee Mazzilli, who works with the outfielders in spring training, calls that a “turn-and-burn” play.
Not even Ellsbury could come up with the smoking liner Juan Lagares drove to right-center for a triple that broke up a 1-1 score. CC couldn’t stop the bleeding and gave up a two-out, RBI single to Wilmer Flores before Plawecki went deep.
The inning became more embarrassing for Sabathia when he lost the race to first base covering what became an infield single for former teammate Curtis Granderson. This has been a problem this season for CC, who has slowed down considerably because of his size and surgical right knee.
Gardner saved Sabathia’s bacon with a diving catch in left field to snare a low liner by John Mayberry Jr.