Their 11-game winning streak is over, but the Yankees still return home with the best record in baseball. And they’re set up to keep winning this weekend.
The Rangers are coming to town for a three-game series starting Friday night in the Bronx. And for a team that spent over $500 million in free agency, they certainly don’t look like one. Texas is once again playing sub-.500 ball and key free agents Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Jon Gray have a combined WAR of 0.5.
Money well spent indeed, right?
This Rangers team isn’t much different than the one the Yankees no-hit last year. Yet, we all know the Yankees can be streaky and sometimes underachieve against lesser teams. Will that be the case this weekend?
Rangers (10-14) at Yankees (18-7)
Time: 7:05 p.m. ET Friday; 1:05 p.m. ET Saturday; 1:35 p.m. ET Sunday
TV: Amazon Prime on Friday; Saturday & Sunday on YES
Probable Pitching Matchups (Rangers pitcher listed first)
- Glenn Otto (1-0, 2.89 ERA) vs Gerrit Cole (2-0, 3.00 ERA)
- Dane Dunning (1-1, 3.81) vs Luis Severino (2-0, 3.75)
- Jon Gray (0-1, 7.50) vs Jordan Montgomery (0-1, 2.88)
Worth watching: Former Yankees prospect Glenn Otto has pitched well in two starts for Texas, posting a 50% groundball rate (GB%) and 3.31 FIP. Facing New York will be his first true test of the season. Despite throwing four pitches, Otto is prone to hard contact and his success thus far can be traced to a .217 BABIP.
Texas liked Otto enough to trade Joey Gallo to acquire him. We’ll soon see if the big righty gives the Yankees some buyer’s remorse.
Key matchup: Marcus Semien hit a career-high 45 home runs in Toronto last year, signed a $175 million deal with Texas, and has yet to live up to the contract. Semien is batting .179 on the year with no home runs. Playing in Yankee Stadium, however, could be just what he and the sputtering Rangers lineup need. Semien is a .266 hitter with an OPS of .858 in the Bronx and if he can help get his team on the board early, that could be all Texas needs.
X-factor: In his last start, Luis Severino showcased what happens when he doesn’t have his slider working. A low-scoring Royals team managed seven hits and four runs off of him, and the Rangers’ lineup ranks 15th in runs scored despite batting just .224. Severino also owns an inflated 5.40 ERA against Texas. He’ll need to be careful not to tip pitches on top of having his best stuff.
Final thoughts and prediction: Pitching is going to be the name of the game in this series and the Yankees have an overwhelming edge there. Otto and Dunning have largely gotten lucky this year while New York’s pitching has been consistently elite. Count on Gerrit Cole and Severino to carry the series. Better yet, Jordan Montgomery will finally get some run support. Yankees sweep.