When the Yankees announced the signing of Mark Teixeira, it was easy to see what they were imagining from the 2009 season. CC Sabathia throwing bullets on the mound with Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez making it impossible for pitchers to take easy trips through the Yankee lineup. There are different fever dreams every winter, but rarely do they come true as vividly as they did for the Yankees on Tuesday night.
Sabathia struck out seven in seven innings, and each of the Yankee sluggers hit a two-run homer in a 9-1 win. That makes Sabathia 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA since Rodriguez returned to the lineup while Teixeira is hitting .341 with six homers and 15 RBI in his first sustained stretch of good play as a Yankee. For his part, A-Rod has homered in four straight games to complete the triumverate everyone thought would be the reason for the team's winning ways this season.
Teixeira's homer capped off a seven-run seventh inning, but it wasn't as important as an error by Orioles shortstop Robert Andino that turned a possible double play into the winning rally.
That's a stroke of luck, obviously, but part of those January dreams is the part where the Yankees turn another team's mistake into an overwhelming rally. For all the hand-wringing about the missing heart, chemistry and assorted other adjectives only earned when you win titles of post-2000 Yankee teams, that's the thing those teams did better than anything else. The slightest opening was turned into a gaping hole through which they poured runs and turned close games into routs.
The seven game winning streak (lots of sevens last night, no?) has featured a lot of making the most of opportunities, which is a good sign for a team that seemed all too willing to roll over and take their lumps in April. All of which has them fulfilling the only part of the plan that matters. Winning.
Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.