It wasn’t about David Phelps pitching through five straight innings for the first time or Derek Lowe making his debut for the New York Yankees with 4 fantastic innings. It was mostly about how the Texas Rangers lost their lead of the AL after another disastrous outing in the new Yankee stadium.
How bad has it been for them there? The Yankees have won 9 of the last 10 match ups there, including each of the last 6. In those 10 games, the Rangers have just 4 home runs, while Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano each have 4 themselves. The Yankees have hit 20 over that period, but the batting average tells the story better than anything – .308 for the Yankees, .219 for the Rangers.
And it wasn’t much better on Monday. Phelps did allow six hits during his 5.0 innings on the mound, the most he’s had as a starter, but thanks to some good fielding he managed to come off with only two runs. Derek Lowe, not exactly the most loved person in the Bronx, came on as a relief pitcher for the first time since 2007 to make his Yankees debut, and it went pretty well – His first save in almost 9 years, pitching 4.0 innings, allowing only 2 hits and striking out four batters.
As always, Lowe had plenty to say after the game. One thing stuck out the most – I think I was throwing below the speed limit the last inning, but I’m not going to lie to you and say I won’t sleep with a smile on my face.
Ryan Dempster was the poor guy on the other end, pitching six innings and allowing 8 runs as his ERA skyrocketed to 8.31. He allowed two home runs, including Nick Swisher’s second grand slam of the season and sixth of his career. The usually strong Texas bats finished 8-33 on the day, with Ian Kinsler (0-3), Michael Young (0-4) and Mitch Moreland (0-3), all hitters of at least .270 couldn’t get a single good one.
The four game series continues with Hiroki Kuroda pitching for the Yankees (10-8, 3.24 ERA) and Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.31 ERA) for the Rangers, with both coming in to the game in less than impressive form.