Series Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers
By Jared Book
Coming off a series where the only loss was to Justin Verlander, the Rangers can thank the Rain Gods once more. Because the Yankees game was rained out last night, C.C. Sabathia gets the start in game one of the series.
Following the best road trip in franchise history will be a tough task, as after a long road trip there usually is a let down. Against Sabathia, that isn’t the best news but the Rangers have proven to be up to the challenge more often then not.
Something to follow off the field this series is the health of Adrian Beltre. It is said he is questionable and with the shift necessary to shield his absence, it could be a big deal should he be out longer than just day-to-day.
Monday 6:05 CDT TEX: LHP Derek Holland (2-0, 3.10 ERA/3.13 FIP) – NYY: LHP CC Sabathia (1-0, 5.59 ERA/3.61 FIP)
Holland is 11-1 since last year’s all-star break. The weird thing is is that the only number that is significantly different than his career history is his BABIP which is under .200. His LOB % is right around average at 72%. His K and BB rates are in line with his averages. You can expect the BABIP to go up a little bit (it usually settles around .300 for pitchers) especially if his GB/FB percentage remains where it is (he is currently allowing about 10% more fly balls compared to grounders with his career average.)
Out of all of Sabathia’s stats the main thing that comes from it is the fact that he will regress back to the form he usually has. Fact is, most of his peripherals are good, but the ones that are mostly luck based – LOB% and HR/FB% especially – are not helping him. His last start was his best, picking up the win after allowing 4 hits and 3 runs over 7.1 innings. Useless stat of the day? Sabathia has faced 28 batters in each of his 3 starts so far.
Tuesday 7:05 CDT TEX: RHP Yu Darvish (2-0, 3.57 ERA/3.90 FIP) – NYY: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 5.00 ERA/4.77 FIP)
Darvish, so far this season, has a similar contact rate to Jamie Moyer. Yes, it could be due to a small sample size, or it could be the fact that Yu’s strikes are easy to hit because he’s holding something back to gain back command. In his last start, he made it into the seventh inning for the first time in his career but still had 5 walks (to go along with 5 strike outs). The good news is that he only allowed two hits which is a good sign. The Yankees like to make pitchers work, so if Yu doesn’t throw strikes, I don’t like his chances to make it deep in the game.
Kuroda seems to be affected by the NL-to-AL change. His HR rate is up, his BB rate is up and his K rate is down. Despite that, Kuroda hasn’t been pitching too poorly for the Yankees. He’s plagued by a high BABIP (.339, career average of .283) and a low swinging strike percentage (6.7% from a career average of 9.9). This is not something that tends to improve with age, so the 37 year old may not be able to bounce back like you think. He has had one great start surrounded by two bad ones and that type of inconsistency may be something that continues.
Wednesday 7:05 CDT TEX: RHP Scott Feldman (0-0, 2.1 IP, 0.00 ERA/2.94 FIP) – NYY: RHP Phil Hughes (1-2, 6.75 ERA/5.94 FIP)
Feldman is making a spot start and showing his worth in the Rangers bullpen. No roster moves need to be done, no player getting service time added, just call on Feldman. This is good news as Feldman, the mop up guy in the bullpen, has not had much to mop up. Feldman is a typical sixth starter and would probably make most teams rotations. He started two games last year and pitched in 11 games overall. Last year saw a significant jump in his GB% but the sample size was only 32 innings.
Hughes is part of the Yankees Majestic Failed Pitching Prospects along with Joba Chamberlain. Both of them were part of the Yankee hype machine and both failed to live up to it with any type of consistency. That is the narrative. The facts show that Hughes has been really unlucky so far. A lot of that can be his own doing, but most things look like they should come back to earth. First, he has a .366 BABIP which is very high and a 56.7 LOB% which is very low. It means more people are getting on base and more of them are scoring. That’s not a good combination for a pitcher. It looks like Hughes is struggling and the old adage You Make Your Own Luck could come back to haunt Hughes if it doesn’t change soon.
Projected New York Lineup
1 SS Derek Jeter
2 CF Curtis Granderson (L)
3 3B Alex Rodriguez
4 2B Robinson Cano (L)
5 1B Mark Teixeira (S)
6 RF Nick Swisher (S)
7 DH Raul Ibanez (L) vs RHP // Eduardo Nunez vs LHP
8 LF Andruw Jones
9 C Russell Martin
Hot/Cold (Last 7 Days)
Derek Jeter (Hot-NYY) 11/27 (.407), 2 HR, 6 RBI
Curtis Granderson (Hot-NYY) 10/25 (.400), 4 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB (.483 OBP)
Russell Martin (Cold-NYY) 3/17 (.176), 1 HR, 3 RBI
Robinson Cano (Cold-NYY) 5/24 (.208), 1 HR
Josh Hamilton (Hot-TEX) 12/26 (.462), 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB (.516 OBP)
Mike Napoli (Hot-TEX) 11/25 (.440), 5 HR, 10 RBI
Mitch Moreland (sorry to beat a dead horse…) (Cold–TEX) 2/12 (.167), 2 RBI, 4 K
Brandon Snyder (Cold-TEX) 0/5, 3 K
For more information on the Yankees see Fansided’s Yankees page, Yanks Go Yard.
Follow Nolan Writin’ on Twitter and like us on Facebook. You can follow Jared Book on Twitter here.