Rangers @ Yankees Series Preview

It’s been an interesting home stand so far for the Yankees which started with a sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, but then they took three out of four from the Cleveland Indians.  They start their last series at home tonight against the first place Texas Rangers.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Rangers are in first place in the American League West by two games, but come into the Bronx rather cold, losing five of their last seven.  Josh Hamilton is back (he was hurt for both series’ that these two teams played earlier in the season), but is only hitting .268/.307/.512 since coming back.

(Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez)

The Texas offense as whole has been pretty good.  They are ranked third in the American League in homers, slugging percentage and wOBA, fourth in wRC+, second in batting average, have the lowest K%, and lead the league in stolen bases.  They are almost the same team as we saw in the ALCS last season: they are very quick, but also very powerful.  Hamilton is always the guy to look out for in this lineup, but Michael Young is putting up great numbers as the designated hitter along with first baseman Mitch Moreland.  here’s the projected lineup:

  1. Elvis Andrus, SS
  2. Craig Gentry, CF
  3. Josh Hamilton, LF
  4. Michael Young, DH
  5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  6. Nelson Cruz, RF
  7. Mike Napoli, 1B
  8. Yorvit Torrealba, C
  9. Andrew Blanco, 2B

The Rangers starting rotation has also been pretty good.  They sport a 3.58 ERA, but also a 4.09 FIP.  They strike out almost three times more than they walk, but give up more than one homer per nine innings.  They have done a very good job of going deep into games though, pitching the fifth most innings in the American League.  Here are the pitching match-ups:

Tuesday

Alexi Ogando (7-0, 2.10 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (7-4, 3.15 ERA)

Wednesday

Derek Holland (5-1, 4.41 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (5-4, 4.30 ERA)

Thursday

CJ Wilson (7-3, 3.09 ERA) vs. Undecided*

*- With the injury to Bartolo Colon, the Yanks are still deciding whether to pitch Hector Noesi or David Phelps on Thursday

Bullpen-wise, the Rangers have been only okay.  Neftali Feliz got off to a shaky start and seemed to have control issues, but he has limited his walks recently and looks a lot better.  Overall, they haven’t been too good either, pitching to a 4.90 FIP and walking almost four per nine innings and giving up more than a homer per nine innings.Darren Oliver and Mark Lowe have been the only two reliable arms out there.

(Stephen Dunn/AP)

The keys to this series for the Yankees are gonna be make the Ranger starters throw a lot of pitches and get into that bullpen.  For the starting rotation, it has to be to just eat up innings and keep the team in the game.  With all the pitching injuries, the offense need to be key to winning and the pitching just needs to keep the game close and give the bats a chance.

So that’s basically it.  The first game will start tonight a little after seven.  This is a good series for the Bombers because it is tough opponent and it will allow them to see where exactly they are as a team and what their glaring weaknesses are.

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