June 2, 2009

Rangers-Yankees, East and West leaders collide

The Yankees are clinging to a one game lead over the Red Sox, while the Rangers can breathe with a 4.5 game lead over the Angels.  Both teams are hot, but the Rangers just put their All-Star Josh Hamilton on the DL.  

Expect a lot of homers too.  The Rangers and Yankees have the first and second most number of homers so far in the majors, and they are playing in the easiest place to hit homers.  The three pitching matchups are all good ones.  It should be an exciting series in the Bronx.

Tonight: Vicente Padilla (3-2, 4.71) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-2, 4.78)

Tomorrow: Scott Feldman (4-0, 3.91) vs. Andy Pettitte (5-1, 4.10)

Thursday:  Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 4.35) vs. CC Sabathia (5-3, 3.46)

Seriously?  These matchups are practically identical!

Tonight’s lineups:

Rangers Yankees
Ian Kinsler 2B Derek Jeter SS
Michael Young 3B Johnny Damon LF
Hank Blalock DH Mark Teixeira 1B
Nelson Cruz RF Alex Rodriguez 3B
David Murphy LF Robinson Cano 2B
Marlon Byrd CF Jorge Posada C
Chris Davis 1B Hideki Matsui DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C Melky Cabrera RF
Elvis Andrus Brett Gardner CF

I like the order and positioning of the last two for the Yankees tonight.  Cabrera’s sporting a career-high .835 OPS, and has a cannon meant for right field. Gardner’s shown that when he gets on base to start an inning, he can fly around the bases to score; the secret leadoff is perfect for him at this stage in his career and he has the speed to patrol CF.

Interesting note: The first place Tigers host the Red Sox for a three-game series as well.  They are the third and fourth best in the AL (going by record), while the Rangers and Yankees are first and second, respectively.

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