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ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball will present a very entertaining matchup this week as the AL West leading Texas Rangers take their 9-3 record into Yankee Stadium to take on the East leading New York Yankees who have posted a 7-4 record entering this three game weekend series. Both teams have been dominating at home—the Rangers have yet to lose on their home field in Arlington, Texas posting a 6-0 record though are just 3-3 on the road. The Yankees are a solid 6-2 in the 21st century incarnation of “The House That Ruth Built”.
Everyone knew that the Rangers would be able to hit the ball well, but they’ve been very happy with the performance of their pitching staff in the early going. The Rangers currently lead the Major League in team ERA at 2.55 and if they can stay below a 3.00 ERA throughout the season they’re going to win a lot of games. Starting pitching was the big concern surrounding the New York Yankees entering the regular season and that proved to be prescient, at least to this point of the season. The ‘Bronx Bombers’ pitching staff has been getting ‘bombed’ themselves, posting a 4.73 team ERA that ranks #23 in the MLB. They haven’t been getting the flat out dominant offensive production they expected and currently rank middle of the pack in most offensive categories but the important thing is that they’ve been winning games.
Veteran southpaw C.C. Sabathia has pitched very well this season in three starts but only has a 0-1 record to show for it due to the bumbling Yankees’ bullpen. He’s got a 1.45 ERA and 17 strikeouts but just can’t catch a break. He’s allowed 1 ER in his last two starts but the Yankees lost both—that almost defies rational thought. His March 5 home start against Minnesota bordered on absurd—Sabathia pitched 7 innings of 2 hit, shutout baseball but didn’t factor into the decision as the Yankees bullpen bumbled away a brilliant performance by their starter.
The Rangers will start a pitcher that you probably haven’t heard of but definitely will. All Alexi Ogando has done in his first two starts of the year is allow 4 hits and no runs with two victories. That, of course, gives him a perfect 0.00 ERA for the year to date and you can’t do any better than that. We should get a great value price on Ogando in this game given the fact that he’s flying ‘under the radar’ and facing a big name in Sabathia who pitches for arguably the biggest ‘public’ team in all of sports.
At this stage of the game, we’ve got to back the Rangers at what will almost certainly be an underdog price. The Yankees’ pitching is struggling while the Rangers’ is performing extremely well. We’ll take the top ranked Rangers pitching and top 10 ranked Rangers offense against a Yankees’ team that just hasn’t put up very good numbers despite their decent W/L record.