After a day off filled with more bad news on Mark Teixeira‘s injured wrist and the anticipated return of Alex Rodriguez in a month in more ways than one, the New York Yankees (41-34) get set to finish their nine game homestand this week against the Texas Rangers, one of the top teams, if not the top team in the American League right now. As far as the past series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees’ offense got a little bit of a boost from recently called-up outfielder Zoilo Almonte. Almonte was 7-11 for the series, including hitting his first career home run in Friday night’s win. Vernon Wells has sat the bench recently, but he got a big confidence boost with his game-winning RBI double in Saturday’s victory.
For the pitching staff, Ivan Nova gave the team a solid start on Old Timers’ Day, but the offense is still struggling to score runs. However, they stand just two games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and face a huge litmus test in facing the Rangers to see where they stack up with the best teams in the American League right now as we head towards the month of July.
The Texas Rangers (44-32) have won each of their last two series, and have won the same amount of games on the road as they have at home this season. This is a team that had prognosticators had questions about their offense with the losses of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, and Mike Napoli in the offseason. They have upgraded at the catcher position with the defensive and game-calling abilities of A.J Pierzynski (and his .302 batting average). Plus, other players like outfielder Nelson Cruz and third baseman Adrian Beltre have stepped up as the main run producers in the offense with 33 home runs between them. As for the pitching, Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.84 ERA) continues to shine as the ace of the staff that has been hit with injuries to key pitchers such as Matt Harrison. With young players like Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin helping out the depth of the lineup, the Rangers are looking like one of the more complete teams in baseball right now.
On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, presented by BaldVinny.com, I talked about the Yankees’ four game split with the Tampa Bay Rays as well as some of the concerns facing the Yankees’ rotation right now. Eric Reining from NolanWritin.com joined me to talk about the Rangers’ return to first place in the AL West before their game began Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Eric and I discussed the pitching match ups, the potential effect Biogenesis could have on Nelson Cruz, and the impact of the young players in the lineup for Texas.