Last night Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher went a combined 4-14 (.286), with three RBI. Tex had two extra-base hits and scored two runs as well, doing all his damage after the 6th inning. Cano knocked in the Yankees' first run of the game, while Swisher picked up a key base hit moments before Tex decided the Earth needed one more satellite in its orbit. As an added bonus, they had only a single strikeout between them.
The combined effort looms large before tonight's game. Last season all three of these guys vanished in the playoffs. Tex managed an anemic .271 wOBA. Cano was worse, putting up a .240 effort. Swisher found himself benched for his .234 wOBA performance. Does last night's game mean they turned a page?
As we've noted countless times, given that Cano, Swish and Tex basically carried the Yankee offense all season their continued production is critical to the team's October success, especially because the team doesn't have the same starting pitching as they did in 2009. CC Sabathia will pitch better, but between injuries, youth and awfulness, it is difficult to predict what Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett will provide the team. Given that it is unlikely that Alex Rodriguez will repeat his 2009 playoff performance, which was one of the best postseason runs of all-time, the Yankees will need a more balanced offensive attack than they featured last October. So far they're off to a good start.