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Yankees vs. Rangers Game Preview: Big Mike looks to stop skid in Slade Heathcott's first start

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The Yanks have played more road games than any other team in the majors. Tonight they happily return home, fresh off their second off day of the week, to take on the Rangers.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees return home to the Bronx tonight after a tough series in Washington in which the biggest takeaway may have been that it was sandwiched between two off days, something that should only help this weathered and slumping lineup. Another fortunate thing the Yanks have going for them is that if there's anyone they want on the hill to break up a losing skid it's Michael Pineda, and that's exactly who will be taking the ball this evening. Big Mike is coming off of his worst start of the year in Kansas City, where he allowed 5 earned runs in 5.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and only fanning a single batter. His start prior to that was his 16 strikeout display against Baltimore, though, so success isn't too far in his rear view and it's a safe bet that he returns to the form we've come to know for most of this season. Pineda is 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers.

Texas will send veteran righty Colby Lewis to the mound. Lewis has enjoyed success through most of the early goings of 2015. Prior to his last start, he was on a tear in which he gave up 2 runs in only 21 innings. Like Pineda, however, he is coming off his worst start of the season. Last Saturday against Cleveland, Lewis gave up 6 runs, 5 earned, in 5 innings. In his career against the Yanks, Lewis is 1-3 with a 5.28 ERA in 5 career starts, although 3 of those starts came all the way back in 2003. He faced the Yankees twice last season, and came away with two strong outings, one a 3-run, 6.1-inning performance and the other a 2-run, 7-inning victory.

Carlos Beltran will look to continue his 11-game hitting streak tonight while Slade Heathcott starts in center and make his first major league start. He hit .285/.335/.358 with a 103 wRC+ in Triple-A Scranton before debuting as a pinch-runner on Wednesday night in Washington. Minor League Ball's John Sickels speculated that Heathcott strikes him as "the type of player who could have 'unexpected' short-term success," so hopefully he's right! The game will start at 7:05 PM and can be seen on YES or MLB Network.