The Rangers swept the Yankees last season, one of only 4 teams to actually win a series against the Bombers in the new Yankee Stadium. Talk about an impressive home field advantage. While the Rangers had success against the Yankees in their new ballpark, historically the Rangers have been beaten up in New York, going 13-28 in the past 5 seasons in the Bronx. But the Rangers are out to prove that they can win in New York again with a new and improved lineup that features former Angel Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz who is batting .375 with 6 homeruns and 12 RBIs in only 9 games this year.
Unfortunately for the Rangers they are going to have to face one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Going up against CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte will not be an easy task. The Rangers, however, have some good pitchers of their own. Scott Feldman and Rich Harden anchor their rotation while CJ Wilson is coming off 7 shut-out innings in Toronto. None of these pitchers have much history against the Yankees which certainly gives them an edge. But, Mark Teixeira aside, the Yankees have one of the best lineups in baseball this season and the Rangers, who have faced Toronto, Seattle, and Cleveland so far this season, have not faced such an intimidating lineup. Robinson Cano has been a one-man wrecking crew and belted two home runs while Curtis Granderson hit two triples last night against the Angels. Look for the Yanks to continue to belt the ball against the inexperienced W
LHP CC Sabathia (1-0, 3.56) vs. LHP CJ Wilson (0-0, 0.00)
RHP AJ Burnett (1-0, 3.75) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (1-0, 2.57)
LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0, 0.75) vs. RHP Rich Harden (0-0, 2.79)
- Due to a bout with food poisoning on the 14th, Wilson missed his start forcing Colby Lewis to make a spot start in his place. This is actually bad news for the Yankees because Wilson is the Rangers 3rd starter so instead of pitting Sabathia against the back end of the Rangers rotation he will be going against the middle. Still, advantage Sabathia.
- Mark Teixeira will again try to break out his April slump by taking advantage of the inexperienced lefty Wilson who is making only his second start since 2005.
- Mariano Rivera has only pitched 4 innings this season. Look for him to get some work against this offensive-minded Texas team which behind the bats of Josh Hamilton, Guerrero, and the streaking Cruz will look to keep pace with the Yankees lineup.
- With an impressive list of aces taking the mound on Friday CC will be on top of his game. He always performs better under pressure and he certainly will want to have the best performance of the night.
Yankees Keys to the Series:
- Keep Michael Young from breaking out of his slow start because if he gets on base Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero will eventually drive him home.
- Starters need to go deep into games. With David Robertson’s slow start and Chan Ho Park’s hamstring injury, the bullpen cannot be overused during this series.
- Mark Teixeira. If Teixeira had been hitting up to his capabilities during these opening weeks, imagine how much better Cano’s hot start would be.
Expect the Yankees to again take 2 of 3 from the Rangers. The best shot the Rangers have to steal a game from the Bombers is when their ace Feldman pitches against Burnett. Depending on which AJ Burnett shows up at the ballpark the Rangers could be shut out or have a 5 run lead in the 5th inning. While Harden has been pitching well, Pettitte has been pitching better and the bullpen should be able to clean up the game after Pettitte goes 6 strong as long as CC pitches long enough in the opening game.