On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started the show by talking about the New York Yankees’ (50-47) sweep of the Cincinnati Reds to start their ten-game home stand. The series ended with a walk-off single by Brian McCann that dropped in to shallow right field to score Jacoby Ellsbury, who had four hits in Sunday’s win. The main story for the Yankees in the Reds’ series was the success of their starting pitching. The trio of David Phelps, Hiroki Kuroda, and Brandon McCarthy combined to give up three earned runs in 19 innings pitched. Due to the sweep, the Bronx Bombers are now just three games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
The Yankees will now continue their ten-game home stand with a four-game series against the Texas Rangers (39-59), a team that has been devastated by the injury bug and is in the cellar of the American League West. They have lost most of their starting rotation, such as Derek Holland (knee injury) and Matt Harrison (back injury). For the offense, the team lost first baseman Prince Fielder, back in late May due to neck surgery. Fielder was acquired via a trade in the offseason from the Detroit Tigers for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
As far as Texas’ offense is concerned, it has actually been somewhat productive. This is a Rangers’ team under manager Ron Washington that is sixth in the majors in batting average (.259), but has 70 home runs as a team this year (27th in MLB). The lead player on this Rangers’ offense is third baseman Adrian Beltre. Beltre is having one of the better seasons of his career, hitting .330 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI’s. Texas’ other acquisition in the off-season, Shin-Soo Choo, is having a disappointing 2014, hitting just .236 on the season. With all the injuries, it has left room for young players like second baseman Rougned Odor to make an impact (.268, three home runs, 19 RBI’s).
As for the starting pitching, it has been very disappointing considering they have the second-worst team ERA in all of baseball (4.89). The one bright spot for the Rangers’ pitching staff is Yu Darvish. Darvish (Wednesday’s starter vs. the Yankees) had 12 strikeouts in Friday’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays after going 1-3 in his final five starts before the All-Star break. In the bullpen, the Rangers have had a surprise success at closer in Joakim Soria, who has 16 saves in 17 chances this season.
For this episode, I spoke with David Cash, the co-editor of Nolan Writin’ and the co-host of The Ranger Report podcast. David talked about the great season Beltre has had, and do the Rangers regret not signing Nelson Cruz earlier this off-season. Here are some other topics we touched on during the show:
- Who deserves most of the blame for the Rangers’ mediocre season?
- Pitching Matchup Breakdown
- Miles Mikolas (Monday’s Rangers’ starter) making his fourth start of his career
- What should the expectation level be for Shane Greene in his Yankee Stadium debut on Monday?
- Nick Martinez‘s first start since July 1st on Tuesday – High amount of flyable outs (10+ flyball outs in last four starts)
- Chase Whitley (Tuesday’s Yankees’ starter) having difficulties getting thru an order twice.
- Alex Rios out until Tuesday with an ankle injury
- David Phelps (Wednesday’s Yankees’ starter) with four straight starts into the sixth inning or better
- Yu Darvish‘s high walk rate in 2014 – cause for concern?
- Which Colby Lewis will show up for Texas on Thursday afternoon?
- Brandon McCarthy (Thursday’s Yankees’ starter) giving up four earned runs combined in last three starts
- Rangers’ Players To Watch (David: LF Jake Smolinski, Me: SS Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch (Carlos Beltran and Brian Roberts)
- Success of Joakim Soria in the Rangers’ Bullpen