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Monday August 8, 2011 5:45 am

Jose Bautista and Mark Teixeira heating up in the home run race




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB

Jose BautistaThe home run race has been tight all season long, and right now, the Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista clings to a one-homer lead over Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees. Bautista is the reigning home run king, and he and Teixeira have a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack in baseball. Bautista has had trouble getting the ball out of the park lately, while Teixeira has been hitting them with ease, so it’s not unrealistic to think we may soon have a new leader soon. If Teixeira can hold the lead for longer than a day, he’ll be the first person to do that to Bautista in over a year.

 

Bautista had an offensive explosion in 2010, smashing 54 home runs in all, 12 ahead of Albert Pujols. Prior to the 2010 season, Bautista was a relatively unknown player whom the Pittsburgh Pirates gave up on. The Blue Jays made an adjustment to his swing and the rest, as they say, is history. Meanwhile, Teixeira has always been known as a power hitter as in 2009, he and Carlos Pena, then of the Tampa Bay Rays, hit 39 home runs to set the pace for all American League sluggers.

Both sluggers have been streaky this season. To start July, Bautista homered in each of three games against the Philadelphia Phillies. By July ninth, he added four more. He then went on a homerless drought until July 26. Teixeira had just six home runs by the end of April, but he crushed 10 in May and then had two multi-home run games as part of a nine-homer June. His drought lasted longer than Bautista’s, ranging from July 1 to July 21. He’s hit seven more since, including three already in August.

Teixeira has been chasing Bautista in the home run race virtually all season long. His Yankees opened the season a day before the Jays, and Teixeira homered in that game, but after their respective opening weekends, Bautista has had Teixeira in his rearview mirror. But it’s the teams that are the biggest difference for these two guys. One’s likely to go to the postseason; the other’s likely to go home. And with that in mind, does it really matter who hits more home runs?

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