Derek Holland and Texas Rangers Host CC Sabathia and New York Yankees in AL Showdown

There’ll be a potential playoff preview this week, as the Texas Rangers host the New York Yankees for a three-game series.

The Rangers return to Texas after a sweep at Minnesota, another sweep at Boston and a 2-1 series victory at Detroit. Not a bad road trip. The Rangers come into their series with the Yankees at 13-3, having scored the most runs in baseball and boasting the best ERA in the American League.

Texas will look to Derek Holland to keep them rolling. Holland has been pitching like an All-Star, ranking third in the AL in BAA (.164), sixth in WHIP (0.89) and ninth in K/9 (8.85). The 25-year-old has always struggled pitching in Arlington, however, as he holds a 5.12 career ERA at home.

The Yankees will have ace CC Sabathia on the mound after their game yesterday at Boston got postponed due to rain. After getting swept in their opening series, the Yankees are 9-3. Sabathia has also started to turn things around after a rough first start.

In his last outing, Sabathia went 7.1 innings against the Minnesota Twins, giving up three earned runs and striking out seven batters. The 6-7, 290-pound right hander has a 5.59 ERA, but the Yankees are 2-1 in games he’s started. In seven starts at Texas, Sabathia is 5-2 with a 4.68 ERA.

It may lack some of the intensity of a division rivalry, but there is always going to be some bad blood when recent playoff combatants clash. Back in 2010, the Rangers knocked off the then defending World Series Champion Yankees 4-2 in the ALCS.

Today’s action begins with a double header at Citi Field between the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets. Tim Lincecum will try to avoid his fourth-straight train wreck of a start in Game 1.He has a 10.54 ERA, and already has as many earned runs as he gave up over his first 10 starts of 2011.

Other notable pitchers throwing today are Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Jake Peavy.

FULL SCHEDULE
Giants (Lincecum) at Mets (Batista), 4:10 p.m. ET (DH1)
Giants (Bumgarner) at Mets (Gee), TBD (DH2)
Rockies (Moyer) at Pirates (Correia), 7:05
Yankees (Sabathia) at Rangers (Holland), 7:05
Cardinals (Garcia) at Cubs (Garza), 8:05
Red Sox (Lester) at Twins (Marquis), 8:10
Astros (Harrell) at Brewers (Greinke), 8:10
Blue Jays (Morrow) at Royals (Chen), 8:10
Phillies (Kendrick) at Diamondbacks (Miley), 9:40
White Sox (Peavy) at Athletics (Colon), 10:05
Braves (Jurrjens) at Dodgers (Capuano), 10:10

Pitching Primer, which previews the days’s pitching probables, is a regular feature on Rant Sports. It paint’s a picture of America’s Pastime’s potentially perfect matchups. If you’ve got a pedigree of predicting future aces, take pride in your penchant for pitching or have a poetic prose, please leave a comment. Pitching Primer is posted practically every morning by Tom Froemming, but he‘s no perfectionist. Plus, days off are primarily provided so the “p” on his keyboard can have a break.

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