Monday, April 23, 2012
Week ahead: Rangers face NYY, Tampa Bay
By Richard Durrett
DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers return to Arlington for a six-game homestand that begins tonight with three games against the New York Yankees and three versus Tampa Bay. A few things to look for:
* Pudge Rodriguez will retire prior to Monday's game with the Yankees, doing so as a Ranger. The pregame ceremony starts at 5:35 p.m. on the field and will conclude with Rodriguez throwing out the first pitch to Michael Young. Join us here at ESPN Dallas for all of the coverage.
* Texas will face a Yankees team that is 7-3 in its last 10 games and is second to Texas in batting average (.285). The Yankees lead the league in runs per game, though, at six. So watch how the Rangers' pitching staff, which leads the league with a 2.48 ERA, handles the vaunted Yankee lineup.
* It also means former Ranger Mark Teixeira is back as well. He's returned many times since he was dealt in 2007 for a package that included Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison -- three players who will see action this homestand for Texas. Teixeira is batting .288 with three homers and 11 RBIs.
* Tampa Bay's James Shields is likely to pitch against the Rangers. He is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in four starts and was magnificant in two regular season starts vs. Texas last season going 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings with 13 strikeouts and three walks. The Rangers beat the Rays in the ALDS in 2010 and 2011 on their way to the World Series both years.
* It should be six games of nearly full houses. Texas has few remaining tickets to the Yankees' series and could also get sellouts for all three of the Tampa Bay games. That includes another ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game for the Rangers on April 29 against the Rays.