That’s right, last month Texas was a woeful 9-14. This month, thanks in part to a resurgent Josh Hamilton and a Michael Young that has gone from horrendous to decent, the Rangers are sitting pretty at 8-3.
With a four game series against the Bronx Bombers starting tonight, the Rangers find themselves in a great position to further their A.L. West over the Oakland Athletics as well as put a stranglehold on the American League’s best record.
As the Angels sink further and further behind both the A’s (1.5 games back) and the Rangers (8 games back), the time to start thinking about home field advantage for the playoffs is close at hand.
New York Yankees (67-47) L10: 6-4
SS Derek Jeter
DH Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Eric Chavez
CF Curtis Granderson
C Russell Martin
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Ichiro Suzuki
RHP Ryan Dempster (6-5, 2.65 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 7.4 K/9)
Dempster earned his sixth win of the year—and first as a Ranger—last Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox. Dempster pitched well as he went 6 2/3 innings while yielding no earned runs.
Tonight will be Dempster’s debut at the newest incarnation of Yankee Stadium. Over his career against the Bronx Bombers, Dempster has gone 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA. He last faced the Yankees on June 18, 2011 at Wrigley Field. In his four career starts against New York, Yankees batters have hit him to the tune of: .333/.472/.786.
Current Yankees that have had the most success against Dempster are: Andruw Jones (.325, 2 HRs, 8 RBI), newly acquired Casey McGehee (.323, HR, 4 RBI) and Nick Swisher (5 RBI in 5 at bats).
Texas Rangers (67-46) L10: 7-3
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Michael Young
LF David Murphy
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland
RHP David Phelps (0-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 11.1 K/9)*
*Statistics from Phelps’ starts; he has been the Yankees’ long relief man for the better part of the season.
With C.C. Sabathia’s return to the disabled list—this time due to elbow inflammation—the Yankees turn to rookie right-hander David Phelps for the spot start.
Phelps, a 14th Round selection in 2008 out of Notre Dame, will be making just his fourth big league start. He was used almost exclusively as a starter during his time in the minor leagues—called on in relief just once back in 2010.
Although the Rangers have never faced him as a starter, they have seen the 25-year-old once before—and liked what they saw. Over his 2 1/3 innings in relief on June 25 in Texas, the Rangers produced a .500/.615/.1.100 triple-slash line off of Phelps.
Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry went a combined 4-for-6 (.666 BA) with a home run, three walks, and two RBI off of him.
Phelps uses a low 90s fastball that can touch 95 MPH to set up his above-average curveball and developing changeup.
This will be just Phelps’ second start at Yankee Stadium, and overall he is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA over 8 appearances in the Bronx. He has never lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings nor has he ever exceeded 89 pitches thrown in a game.