After winning by the skin of their teeth last night, by a final score of 12-11, the Yankees will look to win their second in a row, and take the series from the Rangers tonight.
Hiroki Kuroda will get the start for the Yankees. As we all know, Kuroda is the last man standing from the original rotation the Yankees started the season with, and all in all, he’s pitched pretty decently. Kuroda comes into this start with a 7-6 record, and a 3.99 ERA. He’s not putting up the kind of numbers he was at this time last season, but when he takes the mound, he usually always gives the Yankees a chance to win the game.
Opposing Kuroda, will be right-hander Colby Lewis. Overall, Lewis has had a below-average season, coming into this start with a 6-8 record, to go along with a 6.23 ERA. His last start against the Yankees (6 days ago), he pitched pretty well, going 6.1 innings, and allowing 3 runs, but still took the loss. He will have to be even sharper tonight if he wants to get a win.
Things To Watch For
Gardner Hot Streak: He has been an underrated player his entire career, but no one can deny the fact that Brett Gardner has been one of the Yankees’ biggest assets this season. Gardner, who has never been known as a power threat, has already set a new career high for himself with 13 homers this season. Three of those homers have come over the last two games, when he hit two off of Yu Darvish on Monday, and one off of Nick Martinez last night. In addition to the homer last night, he also added two doubles, and a single, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Coming into tonight’s game, Gardner is 7 for his last 10, and is second on the team in home runs only to Mark Teixeira. Is that maybe a testament to the lack of consistent play from the big names in the Yankees’ lineup, like Brian McCann, or Carlos Beltran? Maybe. But there is no overlooking the fact that Brett Gardner has been one of the best, if not the best position player on the Yankees this season. We’ll see if that hot streak of his continues tonight.
Teixeira Returns With A Bang: After being out of the starting lineup for over a week due to injury, Mark Teixeira finally returned to the Yankee lineup last night. So how did he do? Well, he walked three times, and added a BIG two-run homer in the eighth inning, that ultimately proved to be the game winner for the Yanks. And even on the days when he doesn’t contribute big hits, there’s just this presence that he brings to the lineup, just a feeling of stability, that the Yankees sorely missed over the last week. But now, he’s back, and ready to help lead the Bombers in their postseason push.