New York fell 4-3 in the first game of this short two-game series last night, as closer Mariano Rivera was unable to keep the Rangers at bay in the ninth inning. “You have to be careful,” he said after the game. “You want to make the right pitch. You just need a ground ball and I fell behind.” The Yankees are now 32-23 on the road (+80) this season and 16-9 versus the AL West division. The club has still won 14 of its last 18 games and 18 of 24 at Texas and own the best winning percentage by any AL club in the history of Rangers Ballpark. New York will go off as a road underdog of +125 to +150 for just the fourth time this season, producing a 2-1 record this year (+150) and 10-12 mark over the last three years in this situation (+120). The Bronx Bombers are an electric 12-3 on the road when the total is 8 to 8.5 in 2010 (+880).
Yankees starting pitcher Javier Vazquez is 9-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 21 appearances (20 starts) this season, but dropped his last outing. In that start, he allowed six runs (three earned) and six hits over 5.1 innings, falling 6-3 at home to the Red Sox. The right-hander is 5-4 with a 4.46 ERA in 12 road starts this season, as opponents are hitting a combined .227 against him. He enjoyed a solid July, producing a perfect 3-0 mark and 3.34 ERA, issuing just eight free passes in 32.1 frames. In five career starts versus the Rangers, Vazquez is an even 2-2 with a 5.74 ERA, picking up 34 strikeouts and walking eight in 31.1 innings of work.
Texas won the series opener in walk-off fashion last night, with outfielder David Murphy assuming the hero role. “I got both the pie and beer shower, but it’s a great feeling,” he said after the game. It was the team’s first victory against the Evil Empire this year, as it dropped the first three meetings in New York April 16-18. The win also moved the unit’s record to 10-16 versus AL East opponents. The Rangers now lead the Angels by 8 1/2 games and the Athletics by nine in the American League West race with 50 games left. The club is 37-21 at home this season (-10) and have gone 12-4-1 in series at Rangers Ballpark this season. As a home favorite of -150 to -175 this season, Texas has produced a 11-4 record (+440) and the total is an even 7-7 O/U in those contests.
Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee is 10-5 with a 2.44 ERA in 19 combined starts this season as a member of the Mariners and Yankees. He is coming off a 5-1 road victory over the Athletics, giving up a single run and scattering seven hits over eight innings. The left-hander is a solid 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA in nine home starts between the two teams, including a 2-1 record and 2.55 ERA at Rangers Ballpark. Lee has improved upon his first half numbers, posting a 2-1 mark and 1.91 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. In 10 career starts against the Yankees, he is 5-4 with a 4.72 ERA.
Bettors will be interested in playing the Yankees due to their 30-15 record this season following a loss (+780), but the total is just 21-22 O/U in those games. The Rangers will be tough to bet against, coming in with a 13-5 record against winning clubs since the break (+760) and the total is 3-14 O/U in that span.?