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Yankees vs. Rangers series preview: Build on the momentum of a sweep

Can the Yankees build on the momentum from a sweep against the Reds when the Rangers visit Yankee Stadium?

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Al Bello

The Yankees started the second half with a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds at home in which the starting pitching continued to be a strength and the offense came alive. Playing well at home in the second half is very important for the team who did not take advantage of the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium in the first half, and a long homestand to kick off the second half is a good way to get started on that. The Yankees welcome the Texas Rangers to the Bronx for four games starting tonight. What do they have to look forward to in the series?

Due to injuries that have popped up at an alarming rate in 2014, the Texas Rangers are not playing like we have come to expect them to. They currently sit in last place in the AL West division, 22 games back of the leaders. They enter the series in New York having lost two straight games to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Miles Mikolas is set to start the first game for the Rangers, coming in with a 10.05 ERA in three starts on the season. The right-hander gave up four runs in 5.2 innings against the Angles in his last start on July 12th. He'll oppose Shane Greene for the Yankees, who struck out nine Orioles in his second start of the season his last time out. Tuesday's game features Nick Martinez against Chase Whitley. Martinez currently sports a 5.12 ERA in 67 innings pitched this season. Rangers ace Yu Darvish will oppose David Phelps on Wednesday. Darvish is turning in another fine season with a 2.88 ERA and an 11.36 K/9 in 122 innings this season. Brandon McCarthy will start the series finale matinee on Thursday opposite Colby Lewis. Lewis' ERA currently sits at 6.37 in 89 innings on the season.

Adrian Beltre has been the best offensive player (14 home runs, 149 wRC+) for the Rangers who has managed to not end up with a season-ending injury of some sort. Alex Rios is also having a fine season with a 103 wRC+. The Yankees will have to contend with Elvis Andrus' speed on the bases with his 20 stolen bases on the season, but his 76 wRC+ isn't much to fear. Closer Joakim Soria lurks in the bullpen with a 12.06 K/9 and 2.59 ERA on the season.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link.