By Brad Carroll
The New York Yankees return home Friday night and it couldn't come at a better time. The Yankees won just twice on their nine-game road trip, losing series to the Rays, Royals and Nationals and falling out of first place in the AL East in the process. So, everyone within the organization, along with the fan base, will gladly trade the grey uniforms for the pinstripes reserved for games in the Bronx.
While returning home is great, the Yankees also get the opportunity to play a struggling team, which means winning the three-game series is a must to get back on the winning track this season. Plus, Sunday is Bernie Williams Day, so the current Yankees can hopefully capture some of the magic from the dynasty years and bring that forward with them.
Here is our insider's look as the Yankees take on the Texas Rangers for three games this weekend.
Texas Rangers (18-23, 4th Place AL West)
at New York Yankees (22-19, 2nd Place AL East)
Friday, 7:05 p.m.
Michael Pineda (5-1, 3.31) vs. Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.06)
Saturday, 1:05 p.m.
CC Sabathia (2-5, 4.67) vs. Nick Martinez (3-0, 1.86)
Sunday, 8 p.m.
Chris Capuano (0-1, 12.00) vs. Yovani Gallardo (3-6, 4.26)
The Yankees have lost seven of their last eight games, all on the road, including a two-game sweep at the hand of the Washington Nationals. In a strange twist, the only two games the Yankees won on their road trip were by CC Sabathia, his first two victories of the season. The Yankees trail the Rays by a half-game in the AL East. The Rangers are 5-5 over their last three series, but won two of three against the Red Sox, including the last two, entering this series in the Bronx. Texas is 8.5 games back of the Houston Astros in the AL West.
Three Rangers To Know
1. Prince Fielder has regained his status among baseball's most feared hitters this season. He leads the team in every major offensive category except home runs, which he's just one behind in. He's batting .340 with nine doubles, five home runs and 23 RBI. Over his past six games, Fielder is batting .292 with a double, homer and three RBI. Fielder, who's father, Cecil, played for the Yankees, was the seventh overall pick by the Brewers in the 2002 draft.
2. Mitch Moreland is the most well-known Rangers hitter, but he's starred at the plate so far. He's gotten a hit in eight of his last 10 games and is batting .312 with six doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI. Against Boston, he went 5-for-11, including a 3-for-4 Wednesday with a home run and two RBI. He has a five-game hit streak overall.
3. Martinez, who starts the middle game Saturday, is undefeated in eight starts and has the second lowest ERA in the American League. He won his last start against the Indians, allowing one run on five hits over five innings, which broke a string of five straight no-decisions. The Indians win when he starts, though, as they're 7-1 in those eight games. Martinez, a first-year player, attended Fordham.
The Yankees remain home for three more games against the Kansas City Royals starting Monday night.