Don’t Call Him Mark Teix-ERROR

Against the Rays earlier last week, Mark Teixeira failed to convert his 672nd consecutive play attempt without an error.  Elliot Johnson hit a hard grounder down the first base line that stayed just fair and slipped just beneath Teixeira’s glove.  He owned up to it, telling the New York Post “I just missed it.  I didn’t get leather on it.”  The Rays scored the go-ahead run and won for the 8th straight time at Tropicana Field and not surprisingly, the headlines were unkind.

“Yanks Can’t Recover from Teixeira’s First Error” by Adam Berry, MLB network

“Teixeira’s First Error of the Season Allows Rays to Top Yankees”, in the New York Post

Mark Teixeira’s 3-Base Error Dooms  Yankees in 4-3 Loss to Rays“ in NJ.Com

“Mark Teixeira’s First error costs Yankees in 4-3 Loss” in Newsday.com

But my favorite headline came from the Daily News:  “No Error – Teixeira Gets the Day Off”.  Apparently, Joe Girardi coincidentally gave Mark Teixeira July 3rd off.  It had nothing to do with the emotional strain that his game-dooming error might have caused and everything to do with chance.  Teixeira stated that “we had been planning it all week, actually”.  In an unrelated story, the Daily News also reported that Eduardo Nunez’s demotion to Triple A had nothing to do with his poor slash numbers, awful fielding, and infuriating errors.  “I just like Staten Island better”, Nunez told reporters.  In another unrelated story, Mariano Rivera’s knee surgery has nothing to do with the ACL tear that he suffered earlier this season. “I had been planning to have unnecessary surgery anyway,” he said.

You can hardly blame websites for posting headlines which exaggerate, excite, infuriate or (ahem) make a lame attempt at humor.  In this case though Teixeira’s usually excellent defense actually worked against him vis-à-vis the headlines.  He so rarely screws up, especially in key moments, that his screw-up became the story.

Up to that point, in 523 games wearing pinstripes, he has committed a total of 12 errors.  If we compare Teixeira with his colleagues over the past four seasons, we get the following:

Player

Errors in 2012

Errors in 2011

Errors in 2010

Errors in 2009

Mark Teixeira

1

4

3

4

Prince Fielder

7

15

4

7

Albert Pujols

4

11

4

13

Carlos Pena

3

8

6

10

Joey Votto

4

6

5

10

Adrian Gonzalez

1

4

8

7

He had nearly made the All Star Break without an error.  That’s pretty good, but Steve Garvey actually went an entire season without an error in 1984.  His previously error-less 79 games was a good 56 games shy of Kevin Youkilis’ consecutive errorless game streak at first base (135).  And neither Teixeira nor Youkilis is anywhere near Casey Kotchman’s record of 2, 379 play attempts at first base without an error.

But you can’t really blame Teixeira for anything other than poorly timing his first error of the season. With the Yankees ahead 3-2, he didn’t walk Sean Rodriguez after getting ahead of him 0-2 in the count (that was Boone Logan).  And then it wasn’t Teixeira who gave S-Rod second base on a wild pitch (Boone Logan again).  It wasn’t Teixeira who followed that with two more balls to Jose Lobaton (for seven consecutive balls – the last three of which he threw to a .230 hitter!).  But then, and for me this is the most mysterious part of the game, he gets Lobaton to pop out to shortstop on his third consecutive strike.  After seemingly re-locating the strike zone, Joe Girardi decides to disrupt Logan’s rhythm and calls for David Robertson to face pinch hitter Brooks Conrad (who is batting .149, thank you very much!).

Now, here’s where the call gets dicey.  You’ve got a runner in scoring position with two outs while holding on to a one run lead.  You’re facing a batter who couldn’t hit the inside of a log in a stadium you haven’t won at in seven previous attempts.  So, who should you call?  David Robertson of course.  He’s got a ridiculously low ERA (2.57) and his K9/BB rate is an insane 35/8.  Across 22 innings pitched to that point, he’d given up only two home runs and six total runs all year.  Smart call, right?

Except for this freak statistic: four of those six runs, including one of the home runs, he gave up to the Rays in less than 2/3 of an inning on May 9th at the Trop.

So, for some reasoN. Robertson decides he needs to hang a middle-of-the-plate not-so-fast-ball to Conrad, and of course, Conrad whacks it within about 10 feet of the right field wall, driving S-Rod home and reaching second base.  With the game thus tied, Elliot Johnson steps up to the plate with two outs, and the pitching sequence goes like this:

Pitch 1:  Curveball strike 0-1
Pitch 2: Fastball strike 0-2
Pitch 3: Curveball inside 1-2
Pitch 4: Breaking ball low 2-2
Pitch 5: Wild curveball 3-2

Another Yankee pitcher loses a batter after going up on him 0-2.  Elliot Johnson hit the sixth pitch of the sequence hard down the first base line, and Mark Teixeira slightly misjudged it.  Brooks Conrad scored, and the Rays took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

In the end, even if Teixeira makes that play, it’s still a tie ballgame on the road.  And though he took credit for the error, and responsibility for the loss, David Robertson corrected him.  He told the New York Tiimes  “I feel like I flat-out blew the game today.  I feel like that’s not on Tex.  He’s made amazing plays behind us all year and he’s done it for three years since he’s been here. … I still should have gotten Conrad out today.”  It’s hard to disagree.

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2 Responses to Don’t Call Him Mark Teix-ERROR

  1. Bullshark says:

    I'm tired of this guy getting pass after pass after pass. He's like the second or third highest paid player – any little leaguer would've made that play. That's going to hurt us in the second half.

  2. JV19 says:

    Teixeira is a great fielder, but I hate when people use errors as the sole stat for defense. Just like when people use AVG/HR/RBI as their main hitting stats, when really OBP/OPS/WAR should be the big 3