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Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have been the difference in the Yankees' resurgent offense

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Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez haven't always been the dynamic duo the Yankees have asked them to be. But in 2015 they're partying like it's 2009.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kale-Man and the Centaur sounds like a really bad comic book turned summer blockbuster, but for the Yankees, it's a one-two punch that's led them to a second place ranking in baseball in runs per game. Prior to the season, most fans and pundits were ready to write the epitaphs on Alex Rodriguez's and Mark Teixeira's careers. Instead, a little less than halfway through, the two had combined for 33 home runs and 97 RBI along with a triple slash of .266/.371/.529 through Sunday. It's been a long time since both members of the Tex-Rod connection were firing on all cylinders, but unlikely as it may be, they're once again the force driving a winning Yankee offense.

When the Yankees first teamed up Rodriguez and Teixeira in 2009 - for a total cost of $50 million per season and nearly a half billion overall - they were hoping to form their own version of the David Ortiz-Manny Ramirez 3-4 combo that punished them for years and still lives on in the nightmares of Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth. Early on, the plan worked to near perfection. Tex hit .292/.383/.565 and finished runner up in the AL MVP race in '09 and A-Rod, after returning from injury in May, posted a .933 OPS and put on a dazzling postseason show that climaxed in a World Series win. But both Teixeira and A-Rod began rather precipitous declines the following year, dropping 14 and 16 points respectively in wRC+ in 2010. Rodriguez missed over 100 games over the next two seasons while Teixeira sunk to his worst output since his rookie year in fWAR and OPS in 2012. Then 2013 and 2014 happened. Hip shenanigans, a long PED suspension and baby wrist demolition prevented their names from sharing a lineup card for two full seasons until Opening Day of this year.

For the first time since Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were carrying the torch in early 2012, the Yankees have a pair of high-functioning power bats at the middle of their order. That's been the biggest difference in separating 2015's potent offensive attack and the lackluster 2013 and 2014 editions. The Yankees have played 18 games so far where either Teixeira or Rodriguez (or both on April 23rd) were not in the starting lineup. In those games, the team is 6-12, vs. 35-24 when both sluggers start. When Tex-Rod isn't whole, the team has scored three or fewer runs 13 times, and their average of 2.94 runs per game is well short of the 5.27 they're managing when they're both in. A-Rod and Teixeira aren't the only Yankee hitters having good years - Brett Gardner's had a gargantuan June, Jacoby Ellsbury was hitting excellently when healthy and Brian McCann's rebounded nicely from a down 2014 - but their presence at 3 and 4 has been primarily what's held the offense together.

Rodriguez and Teixeira have also done a lot to balance a lineup that's vulnerable to left-handed pitching. Along with Gardner who's come on strong of late and Chris Young, A-Rod at 151 and Tex at 121 are two of only four Yankees with a better-than-league-average wRC+ vs. lefties in 50 plate appearances or more.

The unexpected production the Yankees have gotten from Tex-Rod is cause for celebration but its sheer importance is also a bit concerning. Teixeira's now well removed from the torn tendon sheath he suffered while training for the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and that's an injury that leaves a long road to full recovery. He's seemed healthier and more confident in his body this season, but he's 35 and he got off to a good start last year, too, hitting .241/.341/.464 with 17 home runs pre-All-Star break before completely collapsing to a 62 wRC+ in the second half.

Rodriguez is sailing in uncharted waters as a near-40-year-old attempting to complete a full season - on two surgically repaired hips - after having played in a total of 44 games over the past two years. There's really no evidence to say he can't do just that - his new DH-only role should help - but there's nothing much to say he can either. If either of these players goes down for a stretch or sees even a moderate dip in performance it'll be a huge blow to a Yankee offense that'll go right back to struggling to score runs.