Tex struggles, but Yanks' offense OK

New York first baseman 2-for-19 in series, but others in the lineup are producing

Originally Published: November 2, 2009
By Amy K. Nelson | ESPN.com

PHILADELPHIA -- If there's any perspective the Yankees can take comfort in, perhaps it is Jerry Hairston Jr.'s. When asked about Mark Teixeira's struggles in this World Series and the entire postseason, Hairston ignored the numbers and simply rejected the notion.

"I don't think he's struggling," said Hairston, the veteran Yankees reserve. "When you have short series, it's tough to put a gauge on it. I've played with him in Texas and here [with the Yankees]. He's one of those guys as soon as you think you've got him, he can erupt."

The Yankees would love nothing more than for that to happen, but they don't necessarily need it. Even though Teixeira is hitting just .105 (2-for-19) in the World Series and struck out as the potential tying run in the ninth inning of Monday night's 8-6 Game 5 loss to the Phillies, his team is still up 3-2 and headed back to New York.

The Yankees will be back in their park for Game 6 on Wednesday night, with designated hitter Hideki Matsui and with catcher Jorge Posada's bat back in the starting lineup.

"It should be beneficial to us," Johnny Damon said. "Especially when we have a Matsui in the lineup, and especially when we have a Posada in the lineup."

Even though the Yankees' offense has been uneven in this series -- the Yankees are hitting .246 in five games -- they did score 21 runs in the three games at Citizens Bank Park. The Yankees are the first team to score six or more runs in three consecutive World Series games since the Indians in 1997. It's the first time they've done it in three straight World Series games in the same series since 1928. Put that together with getting five runs off Phillies starter Cliff Lee in Game 5, and the Yankees don't feel all that bad about their offense.

"We ended up with six runs [Monday]," manager Joe Girardi said. "We still had a chance in the ninth inning to possibly come back and tie it up or take the lead."

The Yankees scored four runs in the final two innings to force the Phillies' bullpen into more stressful work a night after a remarkable New York comeback in the ninth inning of Game 4. Even though the Yankees weren't able to wrap up their 27th title here in Philadelphia, leaving with that type of success has instilled confidence.

"It's huge; we kind of always come back," Hairston said. "We know they're a great team, and obviously to win two out of three here is tough to do."

It's probably no coincidence that the offense has improved just as Alex Rodriguez has started hitting again. He was 0-for-8 with six strikeouts and no RBIs in the first two games of the World Series; since then, he's hitting .400 with six RBIs and four extra-base hits. His RBI double in the first inning Monday night was his 16th of the postseason, a Yankees record.

Meanwhile, Teixeira refused to dissect his own lack of production, keeping his answers short after Game 5. He has just two hits in the World Series, a solo shot off Pedro Martinez in Game 2 and a double off Cliff Lee in the eighth inning Monday. He has struck out seven times and walked twice in five games.

"I'm just not getting hits," he said. "Sometimes you get hits, sometimes you don't. I've drawn walks; I've gotten plunked a couple of times this series; and they're pitching me tough. And when that happens, sometimes you get walks, sometimes you gets hits, sometimes you don't."

Damon characterized the offense as just "OK."

When asked why, he said, "If our offense was great, we'd be getting ready for a parade, that's why I say OK. It's been OK, hopefully we can get some more production, and hopefully that starts Wednesday."

Being back at home, with Matsui, Posada and the crowd at Yankee Stadium waiting to celebrate should help.

Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer for ESPN.com. You can reach her at amy.k.nelson@espn3.com.