The Yankees have stormed out of the All-Star Break by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series over the weekend. Next up on this long ten-game home stand is the injury-ravaged Texas Rangers. The Yankees need to avoid a letdown after their sweep of the Reds, and continue to play solid baseball against the AL West cellar dwellers. This four-game series may be a trap for the suddenly surging Bombers. A four-game set against an inferior opponent, coming off a terrific weekend sweep, and before a big divisional match-up against the Blue Jays. It would be very easy for the Yankees to go 1-3 or 2-2 against the Rangers and miss an opportunity to put some pressure on the Orioles and Blue Jays in the AL East race.
The pitching match-ups in the Texas series appear even on paper, with the notable exception of Yu Darvish and David Phelps opposing each other on Wednesday. Tonight’s game pairs Shane Greene‘s two major starts against Miles Mikolas‘s three starts. Rookies Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez will face off tomorrow. Brandon McCarthy and Colby Lewis will throw in the series finale on Thursday. It is unfair to put extra pressure on Greene and Whitley, rookies who should be refining their skills in Scranton, but it will be up to them to keep the Ranger offense in check in the two crucial games of the series. The Yankees need to win both of those games against the Ranger’s rookie pitchers going into the Darvish game. If they lose those first games, the Bombers will be in serious trouble of being swept in the series and erasing the good work they did over the weekend.
The only consistent thing about this Yankee team is their inconsistency. For every two steps forward, they take one step back. All too often, they follow up a good series with a terrible one. The fact that they no longer have a top of the line pitcher in their rotation will only exacerbate the crisis and leads to the potential for long losing streaks. Long losing streaks is something the Yankees, only ten days away from the trade deadline and in a tight playoff race, cannot afford. They need to beat up on the weaker teams in the league and continue to eat away at Baltimore’s lead in the AL East and Seattle’s lead for the second wild card spot. Now is not the time for a let down.