This is when Mark Teixeira has to be the $180 Million Man. This is when he needs to be out front with Robinson Cano to take hold of this offense and lead the Yankees not only this weekend for their three games with the first-place Boston Red Sox, but through the rest of the season.
The Yankees, who were swept in the Subway Series, cannot score runs. They scored a grand total of seven against the unstoppable New York Mets in four games.
Teixeira is the one who needs to come back and be the antidote for this offense.
Since Teixeira has been here, he has always had the human shield of Alex Rodriguez to protect him. Teixeira has been poor postseason hitter, but that has been overshadowed by A-Rod's swings-and-misses and dramas. Now, Teixeira -- along with Kevin Youkilis -- is expected to return for the showdown with the Red Sox, and the Yankees need him in the worst way.
The wrist is healthy, so there cannot be any usual slow starts or alibis -- even if Teixeira, 33, has already warned everyone he may not be the same player anymore.
"Maybe I'm slowing down a tick. Look, I'm not going to play forever. Eventually you start, I don't want to say declining, but it gets harder and harder to put up 30 [homers] and 100 [RBI]," Teixeira told the Wall Street Journal this winter.
Teixeira is a career .238 hitter in the first month of the season, but the Yankees can't wait for him to be an important cog in the lineup.
Lyle Overbay is only hitting .194 in his last eight games, though one of his six hits was the homer that won a game in extra innings in Tampa. Overbay is headed to the bench and to an undefined role because he is now a backup first baseman and a backup DH behind two players (Teixeira and Travis Hafner) who are more effective against left-handed pitching.
Actually, the Yankees really could use another outfielder coming back. While, Ichiro Suzuki, who was on the bench to start, continues to look like he might be done as even a solid everyday player, Vernon Wells has taken a step back of late. Wells has three singles in his last 30 at-bats and hasn't had an RBI in two weeks.
Cano, who left before talking to the media after Thursday's 3-1 loss, needs to lead this team, his team, out of this slump. He hit a solo shot Thursday, his first extra-base hit in eight games.
But Cano, as good as he has been at the plate overall, can't do it alone. Youkilis must help as he replaces rookie David Adams, who might be headed back to Triple-A Scranton.
This is Teixeira's time to be at the forefront. There is no A-Rod or Derek Jeter to deflect the attention. It is Teixeira's time this weekend against the Red Sox.
He is finally back -- and he is more important than ever.