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The Yankees took care of business up in Boston this past weekend – defeating the Red Sox in dramatic fashion – both on Friday and Saturday afternoon. The third game of the series on Sunday night was postponed due to rain, but even the rain couldn’t bring any relief to the firestorm the Red Sox continue to be surrounded in.
In the first game on Friday, the Yankees played their familiar role of spoilers to their rivals – who were celebrating the 100 year anniversary of first game ever played at Fenway Park. Ivan Nova pitched six quality innings and was backed by five home-runs from the Yankees offense, including two from Eric Chavez, en route to the Yankees 6-2 win.
On Saturday, Freddy Garcia was rocked for the Yankees, and couldn’t get out of the second inning before getting the hook. Down 9-0 into the fifth inning, the Yanks miraculously were able to pull off a stunning come-from-behind win against a woeful Boston bullpen, ultimately resuling in a 15-9 Yankees victory. Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira had six RBI a piece in the comeback special.
On Monday the Yankees will be in Texas to take on the Rangers for the start of a three-game series to cap the current road trip. The Yankees pitching staff, outside of Ivan Nova, has underachieved to this point. This certainly would be an ideal time for the Yankees to get their rotation rolling. Currently standing tied atop the AL East at 9-6 with Toronto, the Yankees have the second-highest-scoring offense in the game and the lowest bullpen ERA in baseball. As a matter of fact, the Red Sox bullpen allowed more runs on Saturday than the Yankees bullpen has allowed all season. The only glaring hole right now has been the starting, as Nova is the lone starter with multiple wins and carries an ERA lower than 5.00.
Pitching Matchups vs. Texas:
Monday: LHP CC Sabathia (1-0, 5.59) vs. LHP Derek Holland (2-0, 3.10)
7:05 p.m., MY9
Tuesday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 5.00) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (2-0, 3.57)
8:05 p.m., YES
Wednesday: RHP Phil Hughes (1-2, 6.75) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)
8:05 p.m., YES
New York’s starting pitching will be well tested in this series against one of the game’s best offensive lineups, in what is most likely the most hitter friendly ballpark in baseball. The first-place Rangers(13-3) not only are the two-time defending A.L. champions, but they are also the one team in baseball right now with a higher team batting average, higher slugging percentage and more runs scored than the Yankees – and are right behind them in total homeruns with 26.
The Yanks do catch a break as it appears likely Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (hamstring) won’t be available to play during the three game set. But a lineup consisting of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli is easily the toughest lineup the Yankees have faced to this point, which only presents a further challenge the Yankees rotation will take on.
Texas isn’t just an offensive juggernaut, their pitching and defense has also continued to be a key component for their success. Derek Holland, who the Yankees have good career numbers against, will look to show the Yankees the different side of him the world saw in October, as he continues to develop into one of the games better young lefties. Joe Nathan has taken over as closer as Neftali Felix was put into the starting rotation, and both moves appear to be wise. The Yanks will also be getting their first look at Japan’s latest star import – Yu Darvish – who’s been impressive thus far to begin his rookie campaign.
Upcoming Games (after series in Texas):