The 11-game winning streak may have been snapped, but it was still a productive trip north of the border for the Yankees. After taking two of three in Toronto, the Yankees now lead the AL East by 2.5 games and are up by one game in the race for the league’s best record. Next up is a return home and a three-game set this weekend against the Rangers.
This offseason, the Rangers were one of the major movers with their signings of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. While Seager in particular has been pretty good, Semien has been in a horrible funk (50 wRC+, still searching for homer no. 1) and the Rangers haven’t lit the world on fire as of yet, coming in at 10-14 and 5.5 games back in the AL West.
While this year’s Yankee team has been a lot more fun than last year, 2021 also featured a long win streak when they picked up 13 consecutive victories. That team followed up with a 3-12 stretch, nearly cancelling out the winning run. Now that this year’s team has had a long win streak snapped, let’s see how they respond. Let’s check out the pitching matchups we’ll see over the next couple days.
Note: The Friday and Saturday rainouts have tossed the preview into some uncertainty (particularly on the Rangers’ side), but we will move forward with our thoughts on the likely matchups and update as needed.
DraftKings series odds: Yankees favored (-215)
Sunday (Game 1): Gerrit Cole vs. Glenn Otto (1:35 PM ET)
After a shaky start to the season, Cole is now coming of a combined 12.2 scoreless innings in his last two starts, striking out 15 and generally looking like Gerrit Cole. His only start against Texas last year was arguably one of his worst of 2021, when he allowed five runs in five innings. It should be noted that two of the hits and two of the walks he allowed that day might be playing with him in the opener as Joey Gallo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Jose Trevino all had solid games against Cole last year.
Speaking of Gallo, Otto was one of the pieces the Yankees sent to Texas to acquire him last year. After a less than stellar 23.1 innings in the majors last year, Otto’s been good so far this year in two starts, albeit in just 9.1 innings. Getting owned by a guy you traded would be a very 2021 Yankees move, but what this year’s team will do remains to be seen.
Sunday (Game 2): Luis Severino vs. Dane Dunning (30 minutes after end of Game 1)
Thanks to a less than stellar start last time out, Severino is now the only Yankee starter currently with an ERA+ under the league average 100. Mind you, he’s only at 98, so he’s hardly been bad, but the last inning against the Orioles and his most recent start against the Royals have been speed bumps after an excellent first couple appearances.
Like Severino, Dunning is coming into this game very slightly below average with a 97 ERA+. He had been way below average, but was impressive in his most recent start, allowing one run in 7.2 innings against Atlanta. He made two starts against the Yankees last year, tossing six scoreless in one, and getting knocked out after 2.2 innings in the other.
Also keep in mind that there’s a chance that both the Yankees and Rangers tweak the order of their Sunday probables with a doubleheader now planned.
Monday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Jon Gray (1:05 PM ET)
Montgomery has been bitten by the run support bug, as he still hasn’t managed to record a pitching win, even during the team’s 11-game winning run. The most the Yankees have scored in a game he’s started has been five runs against the Orioles on April 27th, but three of them (aka the margin of victory in the 5-2 win) came after he had exited. Montgomery has been very good this year (2.88 ERA, 2.98 FIP), and hopefully for him the Yankees’ offense will back him up in the series finale.
This will be the second start since a return from the IL for Gray. He came back from blister issues Tuesday against the Phillies, allowing three runs in three innings. In terms of runs allowed, that equaled his best start of the season, as Gray’s been less than great so far this year (7.50 ERA, 4.68 FIP).