Yankees-Rangers Preview

After being swept in a series for the first time since July, the Texas Rangers were hoping Cole Hamels would stop the slide in their return home.

He's instead been scratched.

The Rangers will now look to pound the New York Yankees' struggling rotation and extend their home winning streak to five games Monday night.

Texas (10-9) hit .198 and was outscored 13-4 in losing three straight to the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, falling 4-1 Sunday.

The Rangers were scheduled to send Hamels to the mound, but he's being skipped in the rotation due to a strained left groin - an injury that cost him a start in August.

"It is something he has had to battle through," manager Jeff Banister told MLB's official website. "Let's be smart and conservative and make sure it doesn't affect anything else. We'd rather give him extra time now and not create a bigger situation."

Fortunately for the Rangers, they're averaging 7.0 runs and batting .301 with 11 homers during a 6-3 stretch against the Yankees (7-10).

Texas enters this three-game set batting .346 while outscoring opponents 24-14 during a four-game home winning streak.

That doesn't bode well for a Yankees rotation that ranks among the worst in baseball with a 5.14 ERA while opponents have hit .290 with 16 home runs.

Michael Pineda was the latest to get hit hard, surrendering seven runs and four homers in five innings of Sunday's 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

The Yankees, losers of eight of 11, will now hand the ball to Nathan Eovaldi (0-2, 6.11 ERA). The right-hander had his first quality start of the season Wednesday, allowing three runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 loss to Oakland.

Eovaldi's only career start against the Rangers ended in a 5-4 loss with Miami on Aug. 20, 2014, giving up five runs and nine hits in five innings.

He's held Prince Fielder to one hit in five at-bats, but the Rangers slugger is a career .323 hitter with 26 RBIs in 26 meetings against the Yankees. He went 10 of 28 with three homers and 10 RBIs in seven matchups last year.

Cesar Ramos makes his 2016 debut in a spot start in place of Hamels. The journeyman left-hander has started 10 of 251 career games over seven years. He went 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA while all 65 of his appearances came in relief last year with the Los Angeles Angels.

Ramos was 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Round Rock. He has no record and a 5.57 ERA in 19 games - one start - against the Yankees.

He may not have to contend with Alex Rodriguez, who exited Sunday with stiffness in his left side. The MRI on his oblique was negative, and he's traveling with the team.

"Anytime someone leaves with an oblique, you're not really optimistic because they take a while depending on the severity of it," manager Joe Girardi said. "And I even think sometimes when players physically feel ready, I still don't think they have the strength that they had before."

Rodriguez is batting .145 with two homers and six RBIs, but he hit .321 in seven games against Texas last year.