Through the first five games of the World Series, Mark Teixeira is two for nineteen (that’s a .105 batting average), with one home run and two RBI. His Philadelphia counterpart, Ryan Howard, is three for nineteen (.158) with no homers and one RBI. We’ll remind you that once upon a time these were two of the most feared hitters in baseball: Teixeira hit 39 homers and drove in 122 runs; Howard hit 45 homers with 141 RBI. Now, they’re basically black holes in their respective lineups. Be honest: You were kind of hoping last night that Teixeira would get hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth so A-Rod could bat, weren’t you?
We bring this up for two reasons. One is to wonder how many home runs Chase Utley would have by now if the guy protecting him in the lineup hadn’t struck out twelve times — twelve times! — in five games. And two: What would happen if either of these guys started to actually hit like they’re supposed to? The answer could be the difference in the series; it would be like suddenly signing an MVP candidate with two games left to go in the World Series. Which, by the way, the Yankees absolutely would have done by now if baseball rules allowed them to do so.