The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees conclude their three-game series on Wednesday night, as Scott Feldman makes his first start of the season against Phil Hughes in the rubber match. Travis Goldman of Pinstripe Alley takes the time to help us look at this series from a New York perspective -- and to answer some questions about the Yankees. After all, the Rangers and Yankees could very well be meeting in October once again this year.
How did Sunday night's rainout between the Red Sox and Yankees affect this series?
CC Sabathia would've gone Sunday night in Boston for the potential sweep (which would've been nice), but going against Texas is a good use of his talents as well. It turned out for the best, I suppose, since he threw a damn fine game against an excellent offense on Monday. So what it basically just pushes the whole rotation back one day.
It seems like every year when American League teams play the Yankees, they use that series as a measuring stick. However, the Rangers have won back-to-back pennants and are off to a great start -- are the Yankees and their fans using the Rangers as a barometer right now?
Yes, but it's honestly more because of the 13-3 start than the consecutive pennants. We as Yankee fans know how random the playoffs can be (frankly, both St. Louis titles were fluky), but doing well in the regular season truly takes talent, skill and intelligence. The playoffs in the Wild Card era (and even more so now with a one-game playoff) are largely decided by chance. What's the better measure of a team's quality: 162 games or a 1, 5, 7-game series?
What do you think of Yu Darvish now that the Yankees have faced him?
Very, very talented with a wide assortment of pitches. I counted at least six: 4-seamer, 2-seamer, cutter, slider, hard curve and slow curve. I'm guessing he also has a splitter and/or changeup, but I don't specifically recall seeing them.
I was especially impressed with his velocity late in the game. IIRC, he hit 96 MPH in the ninth inning!
That said, I don't see him reaching the truly elite level of Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay, but he could easily be on that second tier. The Yanks seemed more comfortable the second time through the lineup and it'll be interesting to see how he does his second time around the league.
He seems to suffer from the same problem as Daisuke though: high pitch counts (at least before last night). Can he become an efficient pitcher? How will he deal with the Texas heat pitching every five days?
Is there anything you can attribute Derek Jeter's really, really good start to?
The narrative is that getting his 3000th hit last summer took a gorilla off his back. It certainly seems that way: (as of five days ago) 351 PA, .343/.390/.478 since he eclipsed the milestone. I've read that scouts and "experts" think his swing mechanics are closer to those of his fantastic 2009 campaign, but it would be silly to think that getting past No. 3000 had no effect on him either.
With Michael Pineda suffering a setback, is there any cause for concern regarding New York's rotation, or do you expect Andy Pettitte to be the solution? Who goes to the bullpen once Pettitte is ready?
Phil Hughes hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations he garnered in Spring Training (1.56 ERA over 17.1 IP) now that the games matter. Who thought we might actually miss A.J. Burnett?
Andy Pettitte will definitely help (probably replacing Freddy Garcia), but if Hughes doesn't step his game up, he might get permanently demoted to the bullpen in place of long reliever and solid prospect David Phelps.