Yankees-Rangers Series is a Possible ALDS Preview, Definite Site for Offense

August 24, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Now that the Yankees have all but wrapped up the American League East thanks to another series win over the Boston Red Sox, New York can begin to turn its attention to the postseason.

One of the teams the Bombers (78-46) may face in the first round is the Rangers, who visit the Bronx Tuesday night to open up a three-game series.

Texas (69-54) enters Monday’s action just one game back of Boston in the wild card race. The Rangers have experienced a resurgence in 2009 thanks to team president Nolan Ryan’s old school pitching philosophy, which preaches higher pitch counts and longer starts.

But offense will be the name of the game at Yankee Stadium this week, when the two most prolific home run hitting squads in the majors square off at one of the most homer-happy parks.

Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups.


Tuesday, Aug. 25: Joba Chamberlain (8-3, 3.98) vs. Kevin Millwood (9-8, 3.48)

The last time Chamberlain got eight days off between starts, he went on a three-game run during which he allowed only two runs in 21.2 innings. Maybe Joba needed the extended layoff again because he has surrendered four runs in each of his last three starts.

The right-hander didn’t last long in his previous appearance against the Rangers on May 26, when he gave up three runs on four hits and four walks in four innings. But that’s nothing new for Chamberlain, who has struggled in three lifetime starts against Texas (0-0, 7.11 ERA).

Ian Kinsler is just a homer away from a career cycle versus Joba, despite having only six at-bats against him. Marlon Byrd is 2-for-5 (.400) with a pair of RBI and walks, and Michael Young is 3-for-8 (.375) with a homer and three runs batted in. Slugger Josh Hamilton, however, is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts.

Rookie speedster Julio Borbon could also be a factor in this series, except against Andy Pettitte, who has a great pickoff move.  The 23-year-old is 16 for 37 (.432) with eight steals in just 13 games.  He swiped four bags against Boston on August 15.

After beginning the year 8-5 with a 2.64 ERA, Millwood has gone 1-3 with a 5.70 ERA since the calendar flipped to July.

This game is a rematch of the May 26 contest between these two teams, when the Rangers won 7-3. Like Joba, Millwood earned a no-decision, allowing three runs on nine hits and four walks through 5.2 innings.

In eight career starts against New York, the right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA. He’s 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA at Yankee Stadium.

Eric Hinske (5-for-11, HR) should be in the lineup against Millwood. Alex Rodriguez (7-for-18, HR), Nick Swisher (10-for-26, 3 HR), Mark Teixeira (4-for-11, HR), and Melky Cabrera (4-for-11, 3B) have also had success against the 34-year-old, while Jorge Posada (2-for-12, 7 K) has not.

Prediction: Rangers 6, Yankees 5


Wednesday, Aug. 26: Andy Pettitte (10-6, 4.25) vs. Derek Holland (7-7, 4.72)

Pettitte gave up seven runs at Fenway Park on Friday but earned his 10th win of the year as the Yankees outslugged the Red Sox 20-11. That was the southpaw’s first bad start since July 25 against Oakland, which is also the last time he lost.

Pettitte surrendered four runs on seven hits and six walks in five innings in a 4-2 loss to Texas on June 3. He’s 9-9 with a 5.56 ERA in 21 career starts against the Rangers and is 4-4 with a 4.83 ERA at home this year.

Byrd is 5-for-10 (.500) with a triple and a homer against the 37-year-old, while Ivan Rodriguez, who was recently acquired from Houston, is 16-for-43 (.372) with two home runs versus Pettitte. 

Don’t expect to see Omar Vizquel in the lineup because he’s 10-for-46 (.217) with six strikeouts against the lefty. Pettitte has also had success facing Hank Blalock (2-for-11) and Nelson Cruz (1-for-7).

Holland, meanwhile, is on a roll, winning his past three starts while only allowing three runs in 21 innings.

The rookie didn’t pitch as well in two appearances against the Yankees this season, though. He surrendered six runs (five earned) on 10 hits over five innings in a 9-2 loss on May 27 and then gave up two runs and three hits in just 1.1 innings of relief on June 2.

Derek Jeter, who is a ridiculous 27-for-54 (.500) over his last 13 games, is 4-for-4 with a double against the lefty. Hideki Matsui has two homers in four at bats against Holland, but Johnny Damon and Robinson Cano are a combined 0-for-7.

Prediction: Yankees 7, Rangers 6


Thursday, Aug. 27: A.J. Burnett (10-7, 4.08) vs. Dustin Nippert (4-2, 3.95)

Burnett got lit up for nine runs over five innings at Boston on Saturday to bring his ERA over 4.00 for the first time since June 27. He has a chance to make amends on Thursday afternoon, however, as the right-hander faces a team he beat twice in back-to-back starts earlier this year.

Burnett shut out the Rangers through six on May 27 and then gave up just three runs in seven innings on June 2. He struck out 15 in those two games. In his career against Texas, the 32-year-old is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA.

Hamilton is 4-for-9 (.444) with three extra-base hits against Burnett, but A.J., for the most part, has pitched well against these Ranger batters. Kinsler is 3-for-15 (.200) with three strikeouts, Blalock is 2-for-14 (.143) with four Ks, and Byrd is 2-for-15 (.133).

Nippert has done a good job since being activated from the 60-day disabled list on July 7, but he just allowed five runs in a loss at Tampa Bay on August 21.

The 28-year-old right-hander has never faced the Yankees, but he’s pitched against Teixeira (1-for-3, 2 K), Hinske (1-for-2, 2B), and Swisher (1-for-2, BB).

Nippert is 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA as a starter this year and 1-2 with a 5.14 ERA on the road.

Prediction: Yankees 5, Rangers 3


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees Community Leader. His book “Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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  1. daniel on July 27th, 2014 3:09 am



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