For this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started off the show by discussing the New York Yankees wrapping up their ten-game homestand on the wrong note, losing the final two games of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. For the Yankees, it was all about missed opportunities late in both of these games. Sunday was a rough loss for the Bronx Bombers, considering it was one of the few games where both Dellin Betances and David Robertson each had a bad game.
There were some positives in this series, as Carlos Beltran had four hits, two of them home runs, and four RBI. Plus, the Yankees got a solid debut from starting pitcher Chris Capuano on Saturday. New York finished the homestand with a 7-3 record. That is a plus for the team, considering that nine of the ten games were decided by two runs or fewer and the team gained some ground in both the AL East and AL Wild Card race. Plus, the team has been without Mark Teixeira for the last seven games due to a lat injury. Off the field, former Yankee manager Joe Torre was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Torre, a four-time World Series winning manager, gave a great speech at his induction.
Now, the New York Yankees (54-50) get set to begin a six-game road trip, all against last place teams. The team is currently four games back of the Orioles in the AL East, and a game behind Toronto for the second wild card spot. It starts with the Texas Rangers (41-64), a team that the Yankees took three out of four from at Yankee Stadium last week. It was a series that had a rain shortened five-inning game, as well as a 14-inning game where both teams couldn’t score a run until the 13th inning. With all four games being close, this series has the potential of being three more nail biting games for the Yankees, considering Yu Darvish will take the mound on Monday at Globe Life Park, for the second time against New York and David Phelps.
The second half has been rough for the Rangers, considering the team has won the opening game of each of their first three series and have failed to win every single series. One of the players that won’t be there for Texas in the closer spot is Joakim Soria, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers during last Wednesday’s rain delay. Neftali Feliz has taken over the closer role and picked up the save in Friday’s win over the Oakland A’s, his first save since 2011.
On offense, Adrian Beltre is still having a great season, hitting .324 with 15 homers and 55 RBI. He has five of those home runs in the month of July. The Rangers managed to score just seven runs in the four games against the Bronx Bombers, with two of those runs driven in by first baseman J.P. Arencibia, who has hit three home runs in his last ten games. After dealing off Soria, is there a chance that general manager Jon Daniels deals off more pieces by Thursday’s Trade Deadline? This includes right fielder Alex Rios, whose 115 hits have drawn the interest of many teams.
For this episode, I was joined by Ben Dieter, the co-editor of Nolan Writin’ and co-host of the Ranger Report Podcast (Our co-editor Billy Brost appeared on their weekly podcast on Sunday night). Ben and I gave our takeaways from the last series between these two teams and Ben talked about the story-lines he will be watching the rest of the season for the Rangers. Here are some of the other topics that we discussed:
- Expectations for Neftali Feliz as the closer
- How has J.P. Arencibia handled the position change from catcher to first base?
- Pitching Matchup Breakdown
- Yu Darvish looking to find his A game against the Yankees (2-1, 1.85 ERA in four career starts)
- David Phelps holding teams to two earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts
- Nick Martinez (Tuesday’s Rangers’ starter) allowing opponents to hit over .300 at home.
- Brandon McCarthy (Tuesday’s Yankees’ starter) giving up one earned run in four of his last five starts
- Colby Lewis (Wednesday’s Rangers’ starter) with three walks in each of his last two outings
- Hiroki Kuroda (Wednesday’s Yankees’ starter) able to shake off two Jose Bautista home runs in his last start
- Rangers’ Players To Watch (Ben: Rougned Odor and Daniel Robertson, Me: Leonys Martin and Jim Adduci)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch: Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran
- Are there any more moves we should expect from Texas before the Trade Deadline?
- Ben’s Prediction for the AL West this season – How many teams make the playoffs out of the division?