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New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers: Series preview

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Maybe the Yankees can beat the Rangers this time!

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MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Yankees squared off against the Rangers, things didn’t go well for New York. The Bombers dropped two out of the three games in Arlington. Jeff Bannister’s squad sold off several pieces at the trade deadline, including Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Maybe the Yankees will have better luck against them now.

Game One: J.A. Happ vs. Ariel Jurado

Fresh off the disabled list, Happ will make his second start for the Yankees. The veteran southpaw had a fine debut in pinstripes, holding the Royals to one run over six innings. Happ actually faced the Rangers back in April, where he tossed seven innings of two-run ball. The 35-year-old owns a 4.05 ERA (3.92 FIP) on the season. Another strong start against Texas would go a long way to showing why the Yankees acquired the left-hander.

Jurado, 22, made his big league debut earlier this season. In three starts, he’s compiled a 4.02 ERA (4.04 FIP). A groundball specialist, he only strikes out 4.02 batters per nine. He primarily throws a low-90s fourseam fastball with a slider and changeup. The Yankees have yet to see the right-hander, but he held a potent Astros’ lineup to just one run over six innings at the end of July.

Game Two: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Mike Minor

Since returning from injuries to both hamstrings, Tanaka has quietly anchored the Yankees’ rotation. The right-hander owns a 1.78 ERA (2.85 FIP) over 30.1 innings since July 10. In his last start, Tanaka held the Red Sox to just one run. He struggled to give the Yankees length, though, lasting just 4.2 innings. The 29-year-old got pummeled by the Rangers, yet somehow won after allowing four runs on five innings.

Minor, meanwhile, represents one of baseball’s current comeback stories. The former Braves pitcher missed significant time with a labrum tear in his shoulder, only to reinvent himself with great success as a reliever with the Kansas City Royals. Those results haven’t translated into the Rangers’ rotation, though. The 30-year-old has pitched to a 4.53 ERA with a 4.40 FIP. Minor did not pitch against the Yankees when the two squads met earlier this year.

Game Three: Lance Lynn vs. Drew Hutchison

Lynn has been a revelation since joining the Yankees. The 31-year-old has yet to allow a run in pinstripes. After bailing out Sonny Gray against the Orioles, Lynn hurled 7.1 scoreless innings versus the White Sox. His overall numbers don’t look good — 4.58 ERA and a 4.33 FIP — but his recent outings have been superb.

Hutchison, on the other hand, will get his second start of the season. The journeyman right-hander started against the Orioles, and he got hammered. The O’s tagged Hutchison for six runs over three innings. A repeat of that performance would go a long way to help the Yankees get the offense rolling.

Game Four: CC Sabathia vs. Martin Perez

Sabathia shook off a rough patch by striking out 13 White Sox batters on Tuesday. That will do. The veteran southpaw owns a 3.49 ERA, outperforming his 4.48 FIP. The Rangers got to him for seven runs over 4.1 innings back in May. Let’s hope he fares better this time.

As for the Rangers, Perez will make his 11th start of the season. The first 10 haven’t gone well, as the left-hander has pitched to a 6.15 ERA (6.03 FIP). He also has a serious home run problem, to the tune of a 1.88 HR/9. In theory, this is the type of pitcher the Yankees should feast upon. In a disappointing turn of events, Bartolo Colon was originally slated to face the Yankees, but the Rangers temporarily adopted a six-man rotation. Bummer!

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