All the pressure falls on A.J. Burnett's tattooed shoulders tonight. The inconsistent righty takes his fragile command to the hill against fellow RHP Tommy Hunter.
Burnett has generally fared well against Texas. As a Yankee, he has never allowed more than three earned runs against the Rangers (in six starts), and twice has not allowed a single run. Texas' hitters have only managed a .638 OPS against Burnett, but he should be careful of two guys: Josh Hamilton (big surprise) and David Murphy, who have OPS'ed better than .900 against him.
Hunter, 10 years Burnett's junior, has pitched only twice against the Yankees, once each in 2008 (4.1 ip, 5 er) and 2010 (5 ip, 2 er). Yankee batters have generally hit Hunter very well: .364/.432/.515 in 37 total PA. However, no Yankee has more than six PA against him (Curtis Granderson).
The homeplate umpire will be Angel Hernandez, known as a hitter's umpire. Burnett has a 5.08 ERA in seven starts with Hernandez behind the plate, while Hunter has never had the pleasure of throwing to him.