A weekend series in Boston is always good for some drama, but the Yankees are heading for a true showdown this week in Texas where the Rangers have won nine of their past 10 and have the best record in the American League.
“If you don’t make your pitches and you’re not sharp early on, it could be a short night,” Joe Girardi said.
This, of course, would be a good time for the Yankees to get their rotation on a roll. As it is, the Yankees have the second-highest-scoring offense in the game. They have the lowest bullpen ERA in baseball (the Red Sox bullpen allowed more runs on Saturday than the Yankees bullpen has allowed all season). The only glaring hole is a rotation that has just one starter — Ivan Nova — who carries an ERA lower than 5.00.
That rotation begins its fourth turn tonight when CC Sabathia matches up against Derek Holland. Even with Adrian Beltre likely to miss the series because of a hamstring injury, the Rangers present the most dangerous offensive challenge the Yankees have faced this season. Mike Napoli is red hot, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young are hitting above .400 and Ian Kinsler already has 10 walks and 11 extra-base hits.
“Explosive offense,” Girardi said. “Speed. Power. Play very good defense. Starting pitching is deep. Their bullpen is deep. They’re a complete team. … I don’t think we’ve clicked on all cylinders, and I don’t know if all the other teams have clicked on all cylinders, but it’s still good to see how you match up. And there could be things that are a lot different in the months of August and September. Teams could be a lot different.”
Associated Press photo