Mark Teixeira has had a tough time hitting left-handed. Teams are pulling the old Ted Williams shift on him, stationing everyone on the right side and daring him to keep pulling the ball. Which he has been, to less-than-great results of late.
Last August, the New York Times ran an article on this, and reported this as the official position of Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long and manager Joe Girardi with respect to Teixeira trying to thwart the shift by hitting to the left side and such:
“‘The main thing is he can’t get hung up on it,’ Long said of the shift, ‘because we’re seeing it more and more …’ Long and Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said they did not want to see Teixeira try to change who he is as a hitter.”
And here’s Long quoted in Andrew Marchand’s piece over at ESPN New York today:
Kevin Long said he has told Teixeira, “Hey, take a single sometimes. . .” His power is to the pull side, which is why he’s reluctant to go the other way. I think he needs to learn to hit the ball up the middle or the other way, because if you consistently hit into the shift, there just ain’t no holes. It’s something he’s got to work on … There’s got to be a little give-and-take. He’s going to have to change his routines a little.”
I suppose everyone is entitled to change their mind. For what it’s worth, though, Teixeira doesn’t seem to be changing his. In both articles he says he’s not gonna become no slap hitter. So this spring should be fun in Tampa.
Update (11:09 PM EDT):
From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.
The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.
The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.
As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.
Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.
The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.
During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.