Who would have thought that Yankees-Rangers would have a new version of the infamous Jose Mesa-Omar Vizquel feud? Former teammates Mark Teixeira and Vicente Padilla have some bad blood between them, as evidenced by last night's game.
Padilla hit Tex - twice - and Teixeira was openly irate after the second time. He got his revenge sliding hard into Rangers' shortstop Elvis Andrus to break up a double play, an event Jorge Posada said in the postgame was the turning point of the game.
Dallas Morning News sportswriter Jeff Wilson called that 7-run fourth inning "the biggest of the year against the Rangers." And it was a pivotal inning for the Yanks, too, and not just because of the score. It showed that this team is showing a lot more fire and aggressiveness than we've seen from them in a long time.
When Mark Teixeira (!) is doing a hard slide into second, and screaming his head off in the dugout after Hideki Matsui's homer, that's a different kind of team. And when a Yankee pitcher - A.J. Burnett - is throwing up and in to Nelson Cruz in the next inning (Cruz was a good target because he hit a three-run homer off Burnett earlier in the game), that's a different kind of team as well.
Not to mention Teixeira's postgame comments. Instead of some vanilla denial, the first baseman was very pointed on his thoughts about Padilla:
“I hit home runs in my first two at-bats against him, the third time I got hit. Every time I’ve faced him since there’ve been balls near my head or my body,” Teixeira said. “He’s been doing this his whole career; it’s not the right way to play the game. If you can’t get a guy out, don’t pitch to him. Put down the four fingers and walk him.”
Heck, even Padilla's own catcher seemed to approve of what Tex did. Newsday's Ken Davidoff wrote about Jarrod Saltalamacchia's postgame comments:
"I can't speak for Teixeira," Saltalamacchia said. "But if he did it on purpose, then Teixeira had every right to be mad. Burnett had every right to do what he did."
I would love to know what current Texas Ranger Omar Vizquel thinks, given that he was in Teixeira's shoes in his own feud with Jose Mesa.
Incidentally, Padilla has hit 98 batsmen in his career. Very interesting.
A few other thoughts on the game:
* While it would have been intriguing to see how Josh Hamilton would hit in the new Yankee Stadium, after he put on a show last season in the Home Run Derby at the old ballpark, it's probably good for the Yanks' chances this series that Hamilton just went on the DL with an abdominal strain.
* Two other items of note - Derek Jeter scored his 1500th run, and the Yanks' errorless streak is over at 18 games, due to an error by Posada.
* Still wondering why all the Yankees pronounce Teixeira's name as TEX-sharea - Posada did it in the postgame. What's the story on that?
What did you think of last night's game? Leave us a comment!