Published November 20, 2014
The New York Yankees looked like one of the best teams in baseball this past weekend at Fenway Park. Tonight, they get a chance to show that they are just that when they face the red-hot Texas Rangers in the first of three games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Nobody has been better than the Rangers here in the early going, as the two- time defending American League champions return home following a stellar 8-1 road trip that has carried them to an MLB-best 13-3 mark.
"It's nice to get off to a good start," Young said. "We all have a good idea of what it takes to have a successful season. We want to make sure we keep getting better. That has been our goal the past few years. We'd like to be a better team at the All-Star break than we are now."
Texas closed the trip by taking two of three from Detroit, culminating with a 3-2, 11-inning win at Comerica Park on Sunday. Josh Hamilton went 3-for-3 with a solo homer and two RBI for the Rangers, who have won five consecutive series to open a season for just the second time in team history.
The Yankees, though, gave the Rangers fits last season, taking seven of the nine matchups between the two AL powerhouses.
Left-hander Derek Holland knows full well how dangerous the Yankees are, as he is 0-4 with an 8.78 ERA in five career starts against New York. His 9.00 regular-season ERA versus them is his highest against any AL team.
Holland, though, has been terrific in winning his last two starts and on Wednesday in Boston, he allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. He also struck out seven and ran his record to 2-0, while lowering his ERA to 3.10.
The Yankees enter tonight's tilt after having the finale of their three-game set with the Boston Red Sox rained out on Sunday. New York took both games at Fenway over the weekend and on Saturday rallied from a 9-0 deficit to pull out a 15-9 win.
Nick Swisher hit a grand slam, Mark Teixeira had two homers and both players knocked in six runs for the Yankees, who scored seven runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings.
Swisher, Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez all had three hits in New York's third straight win, a streak that has vaulted it to the top of the American League East standings.
"That was pretty cool," Teixeira said of Saturday's come-from-behind win. "I've played a lot of games, and that may be the most fun regular-season game I've ever been a part of."
Tonight, New York turns to lefty CC Sabathia, who is coming off his first win of the season. Sabathia gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday against Minnesota to run his record to 1-0, while lowering his ERA to a still lofty 5.59.
"I just think he started to locate better. I thought his sinker became more consistent," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He just started to make great pitches."
Sabathia has faced the Rangers 17 times and is 10-3 with a 4.44 ERA against them.
Prior to tonight's game the Rangers will honor catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who is expected to retire this afternoon after 21 big league seasons. Rodriguez played with the Rangers from 1991-2002 and the end of the 2009 season.