Monday, April 4, 2011

Teixeira, Rodriguez Locked In

The Yankees are off to a fast 3-1 start, which is always nice. It's too early to get excited about anything one way or another, but it's obviously better to hit the ground winning. The Yankees do not have an easy first 10 games, playing 10 times in 11 days against two AL Central contenders at home and then visiting AL favorites Boston for their home opener. I would be very happy with 6-4 over those 10, and the Yankees have put themselves in a position to go .500 the rest of the way and get to that mark. Hopefully they can keep playing good baseball for the rest of the week.

Just as it's early in terms of wins and losses, it's early in terms of any sort of stats. Both Teixeira and Rodriguez have fantastic stats through four games, but that's not what has jumped out at me. What has jumped out at me is the way Teixeira and Rodriguez have looked.

Tex looks like he's in a mid-June Teixeira groove, and it's the beginning of April. He's taking consistently good at bats and making very solid contact. Early in the last two seasons he's looked out of sync, in many cases just missing balls. Not this year. He hasn't been missing, and when he doesn't miss the ball goes a long way very frequently. It's only four games, but getting a good April from him would be a big boost for this team.

Rodriguez has been a step even further thus far. With Tex, he just looks like he usually does from May 1 on in April. With Rodriguez, he looks like he did four years ago. To say he's not missing wouldn't do it justice. He's not hitting the ball hard, he's pulverizing it every at bat. That homer down the left field line tonight looked like it didn't get more than 20 feet off the ground. And it went 10 rows deep. Ball was on a rope, you really can't hit it much harder. Rodriguez is one of those rare guys that when he's on, the ball just comes off his bat different than it does for most other guys. Like Manny in his prime and Pujols now. The ball jumps off their bat, looks different, sounds different. Rodriguez looked like this in Spring Training, and he looks like this now. It seems like every out is a loud out (he's gone to the warning track three times in the last two games). That's when you know he's on fire, when every ball he gets in the air looks like it has a chance to get out.

My reason for pointing this out is that this had to be one of the biggest things the Yankees were hoping for, both Teixeira and Rodriguez bouncing back from having good seasons to having Teixeira and Rodriguez seasons. They were both good last year, but it was really Cano who was "the man". If they both go back to being "the man", the Yankees offense goes from one of the best in the game on paper to an entirely different level in actuality. They can be the most dangerous 1-2 in the game, and when you add in Cano there really isn't another team that has three players that could all be the guy on a lot of other teams. So far, that is what the Yankees are getting and it's been big. It will be even bigger if they keep it up as the season unfolds.

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