In order for a pitcher to consistently receive tremendous run support, it helps to have his club's most productive hitter in the lineup.
Nathan Eovaldi won't have that advantage Monday night since New York Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira is unlikely to play in the opener of a three-game home series against the Houston Astros.
Eovaldi (13-2, 4.24 ERA) is second in the majors with a 7.48 run-support average and is 8-0 with a 3.29 ERA in his last 11 starts.
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Getting support Monday will be a challenge if Teixeira misses a third straight game with a shin injury. Teixeira, who took batting practice before Sunday's 4-3 home defeat to Cleveland, leads the Yankees (68-55) with 31 homers and 79 RBIs.
"Obviously, it's a good sign that we have him on the field to do some stuff, but it's still not where it needs to be,'' manager Joe Girardi said. "My hope was it was going to be (Monday). I'm not sure about that now."
Rookie Greg Bird, hitting .273 with two homers and six RBIs in nine games, has been starting in Teixeira's absence.
The Yankees will likely have Alex Rodriguez back in the starting lineup for the first time in three games. The 40-year-old is batting .157 this month for one of baseball's worst marks.
"Just trying to give him a couple days in a row to refresh him," Girardi said.
The Yankees, who fell one-half game behind Toronto in the AL East race, totaled 14 runs in losing three of four to the Indians.
Rodriguez is 5 for 16 with two homers against Astros starter Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.05), who is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA in six outings since returning July 18 after right knee surgery. Jacoby Ellsbury is also 5 for 16 in the matchup, while Stephen Drew is 6 for 13 with two homers.
Feldman is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his last three outings. He went 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two 2014 starts versus the Yankees.
Fellow right-hander Eovaldi can move into a tie for the AL lead with his 14th win. He is 5-0 with a 3.46 ERA in 11 home starts.
Eovaldi lasted seven innings for the first time in 12 starts Wednesday and allowed three runs to notch a 4-3 victory over Minnesota. The Houston-born starter gave up two runs in six innings June 26 to earn a 3-2 road victory over the Astros.
The Houston hitter he has faced the most is Evan Gattis, who is 5 for 17 in this matchup. Gattis, like Rodriguez, has struggled in August with a .194 average.
AL West-leading Houston (69-56) starts a six-game trip after a three-game weekend sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers capped a 7-3 homestand. Jason Castro's solo homer in the 10th inning was the difference in Sunday's 3-2 victory.
"We are a first-place team and the atmosphere here (is) we are the best team in baseball," rookie shortstop Carlos Correa said.
Astros starters have a 1.67 ERA in the last six games and the bullpen has pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings.
These clubs split four games in Houston in June.