After a day off, the Texas Rangers head to the great state of New York but the ungrateful New York Yankees. I can’t exactly say that they suck because they don’t really but I just don’t like them or their attitude. The Rangers took them last year in the ALCS and if it comes down to it again, I know they can pull through with a victory. Until then, let’s just hope they can pull of a series win for now.
The Rangers are still in sole possession of first place in the American League West with a two-game lead over the Seattle Mariners. Both the Rangers and Yankees have gone 5-for-5 in their last 10 games. The Rangers are coming off a two-game losing streak while the Yankees are coming off just one defeat.
Tonight is the first of three games in New York and the Rangers will look to get a win to start the series while Derek Jeter will aim to reach his 3,000th hit in his home stand (being six away) – but with the starter on the mound tonight for the Yankees, well, that might not happen. But not just because of the Rangers’ starter but because of a sore calf that could keep him from being in the lineup.
Here’s the matchups for the game tonight.
With one of the best starters on the mound, they may just be able to start this series off right. RHP Alexi Ogando gets the start for the Rangers and will look to go 8-0 for the year after getting his seventh win of the season last time out although he did struggle a bit, which wasn’t usual for Alexi. Ogando is looking to become the second starter for the Rangers organization to achieve eight win decisions to start the season. The only other to do so was Tommy Hunter last year, who by the way is who Ogando has replaced this season in the starting rotation because of a groin strain suffered at the end of Spring Training.
Ogando is 7-0 right now with a 2.16 ERA. He has 60 strikeouts this year and only 18 walks. Over his previous five starts, Ogando has allowed two or fewer runs in four of them. On the road, this impressive 27-year-old reliever turned starter has allowed nine runs on 21 hits over 34.1 innings. The last time Ogando pitched against the Yankees was the first start for him against them and was his worst yet this season allowing five runs on six hits in 6.1 innings and allowed a career-high of three home runs. I’m definitely not hoping for a repeat tonight.
The Yankees will counter with LHP CC Sabathia who has 75 strikeouts and 28 walks. Sabathia is 7-4 overall with an earned run average of 3.15 and is a solid pitcher, but he is also heading into tonight’s game opposite Ogando with one of the worst starts for him this season. Sabathia had previously won four straight decisions before receiving the loss last time out on June 9 against the Boston Red Sox in which he pitched 6.2 innings allowing six runs on eight hits.
At home this season, Sabathia has allowed 26 runs on 46 hits over 48.2 innings. Against the Rangers, Sabathia is 9-3 for his career of 16 games with an earned run average of 4.39 and is actually 4-1 in his previous eight starts against Texas.
Pitchers vs. Hitters
RHP Alexi Ogando: The Yankees are hitting .222 against Ogando as a team. Derek Jeter is 1-for-4 as in Robinson Cano. Russell Martin is 2-for-2 and Curtis Granderson is 1-for-3. Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada are a combined 0-for-11.
LHP CC Sabathia: The Rangers are barely trailing as a team with a .221 average against Sabathia. Michael Young is 14-43 with five RBIs and nine strikeouts and Adrian Beltre is 6-for-27 with five RBIs and seven strikeouts. Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz are a combined 3-for-33. Elvis Andrus is 3-for-9. Only Kinsler (with two) and Beltre (with one) have hit homers off Sabathia.
In my opinion, this is sort of a battle of the aces because I see Ogando as the Rangers’ second ace although he is listed as the No. 4 starting pitcher. He has the stuff to be the Rangers ace and may prove to be some solid competition for C.J. Wilson if he keeps his performance up. CC Sabathia is a very dominant pitcher and this is definitely going to be one of the closest games this year.
The Rangers will have trouble scoring on Sabathia but can probably get in a few runs but the Yanks will have trouble getting some on Ogando but will be able to get a couple runs off him. It’s going to be a close game but I think Ogando can pull through this one and keep his record perfect – especially if you consider Sabathia’s stats at home this year and Ogando’s on the road.