Yu Darvish, who makes his return from the DL, struck out an MLB-leading 157 batters prior to the All-Star break, the most since Curt Schilling (186) and Randy Johnson (171) in 2002.The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers will meet Monday night in the first game of a four-game series in Texas at 7 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN.
Here are five stats our broadcast crew will likely be talking about during Monday night’s game.
1. The American League’s strikeout leader, Yu Darvish, makes his return from the DL after missing just one start.
Yu Darvish Pitch Usage This Season
He’ll hope to get back on track after failing to complete seven innings in each of his past four starts, a stretch over which he’s posted a 4.50 ERA.
Darvish throws a variety of pitches, but his approach against righties and lefties is completely different. He’s mainly a fastball-slider pitcher against righties while lefties can only guess what could be coming.
2. Alex Rodriguez was expected to make his season debut tonight, but instead will remain out of action due to a grade 1 quad strain. This season, Yankees third basemen have combined to hit .220 with only four home runs and 27 RBI, ranking them next-to-last in the majors in each category. In fact, David Adams (now playing in Triple A) was the last New York third baseman to hit a home run, but that came all the way back on May 22.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have not had fewer than 10 home runs in a season from the third base position since 1996 (six) and they haven’t had fewer than 50 RBI from that position since 1991 (39).
Ichiro Suzuki This Season
3. Ichiro Suzuki is 7-for-14 in his career against Darvish, with his .500 batting average being the highest of any batter against him (min. 10 at-bats).
Ichiro is two hits shy of becoming the third active player with 2,700 hits, joining teammates Derek Jeter and Rodriguez.
4. The Yankees trail the division-leading Boston Red Sox by seven games entering tonight. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, New York won a league or division title when trailing by seven or more games at any point after the All-Star break only once. That was in 1978 when the team trailed the Red Sox by 14 games and came back to win the AL East.
5. New York has taken the season series from the Rangers in seven of the last nine seasons (tied 4-4 in 2010, lost 4-3 in 2008).
After dropping two of three in the Bronx earlier this year, the Yankees will have to win three of the four games this week to take the season series.
• Since rejoining the Yankees rotation, Ivan Nova is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last two starts, completing eight innings in both appearances (the first time in his career he’s gone at least eight innings in consecutive appearances).
• Robinson Cano is hitting .415 with a .519 OBP over a Yankees season-high 12-game hit streak. He’s also driven in 12 runs in that span, including two in each of the last two games.
• Mariano Rivera has 38 career saves against the Rangers, the most against them by any pitcher, a dozen more than Rollie Fingers, who ranks second.
• The Rangers began the season 19-8 at home, but have gone 8-14 since. Fourteen of the team’s first 17 games post-All-Star break are at home. They haven’t started this stretch in a positive manner as the Baltimore Orioles just completed a weekend sweep.