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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mark Teixeira won’t be rooting for one team over another in the wild card play-in game between Baltimore and Texas.
Sure, the winner will go on to face New York on Sunday. But the Yankees first baseman doesn’t want a “be careful what you wish for” scenario to unfold in the ALDS.
Besides, if the Bombers play up to their self-prescribed expectations, Teixeira says it won’t matter which team comes out on top Friday night.
“The fact of the matter is, if we play our game, if we play as well as we’re capable of, it doesn’t matter who we play — ’cause we’ll win,” he told WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.
LISTEN: Teixeira with Boomer & Carton
The question on everybody’s mind — and all over the sports pages Friday — was how Rafael Soriano will perform in the postseason.
There’s more pressure than ever on the fill-in closer with five-time World Series champion Mariano Rivera out and unavailable to work his October magic. Rivera was lost for the season with a knee injury in May.
“He had pressure on him the day he stepped in for Mo,” said Teixeira. “And he did a great job. The playoffs, it’s what everyone talks about and it gets magnified. But when we’re out there playing, it’s the same game. It’s the exact same game.”
The same game, with one notable exception.
“It’s just the competition’s better,” Teixeira said. “I think that’s one thing you have to realize. When you’re out there facing Miguel Cabrera or Josh Hamilton, whatever, you don’t have to face them every single day during the regular season. But in the playoffs those are the guys that you have to get out. So whether you’re a pitcher or you’re a hitter, the game is the same, but you just have to step up your game.”
For this year only, the 2-2-1 ALDS schedule was changed to a 2-3 format, meaning the team with home-field advantage will have to start on the road – something Teixeira called “a little unfortunate.”
“We have no excuses,” he said. “I think baseball was kind of put into a corner with the scheduling this year and this was really the only way they could do it. So there’s no reason to complain about it.”
The first baseman only has one hit — a home run — in 12 at-bats since coming off the disabled list. Despite “one of the worst possible games I could ever play” on Tuesday, when he stranded three runners on base with less than two outs, Teixeira said he was “the happiest guy in the clubhouse” after the dramatic win “because my teammates picked me up.”
The Yankees would go on to take the AL East title the following night. Teixeira was dropped to No. 6 in the order, and admitted on Friday that he’s still working to get his timing back.
“It’s really frustrating,” Teixeira told Boomer and Carton. “Missing a month obviously wasn’t easy, and I’m somebody that needs a little bit of timing. And obviously the timing isn’t there right now. I’m actually doing to do a simulated game later on today to try to work on that timing.
“I’m doing everything I can possibly do.”
Who would you rather face, the Orioles or Rangers? Be heard in the comments below!