04/17/10 6:34 PM ET
Rangers looking to spoil Yanks' party
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
The Yankees (8-3) are off to their best start since 2003, when they started 9-2, and Saturday's victory over the Rangers clinched four series wins to start the season -- the most since 1926, when they won their first five.
"You don't remember how you start, you remember how you finish; that's the important thing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's nice to win four series, and we have a chance to sweep this series [Sunday]. We haven't had that opportunity, but we have that chance [Sunday]. And we talk about the importance of winning series all year long."
The Rangers, meanwhile, head into Sunday's finale with their new ace Rich Harden on the mound, hoping to get back on track after a strong start to the season has lost some steam on the road. Harden, signed as a free agent this offseason, meets veteran lefty Andy Pettitte as the Rangers attempt to put an end to a three-game skid.
For the Rangers to support Harden, they'll have to get their offense going.
They're hitting just .181 as a club with just six runs scored in their three-game losing streak, including a 2-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position during that time.
One likely lineup change for the finale will be at the top, where Julio Borbon is off to a 3-for-36 start, and David Murphy enters Sunday with a 4-for-8 mark against Pettitte for his career. Also, Matt Treanor likely will start behind the plate, giving Taylor Teagarden -- off to an 0-for-18 start, the most at-bats for any Major Leaguer without a hit -- a breather.
With the Rangers last in the American League in walks, veteran Michael Young says a little patience could go a long way toward getting it going.
"The biggest thing right now is we have to make sure we don't fall into a pattern of being over-aggressive at the plate," Young said. "That's something we've talked about. There is nothing wrong about being aggressive in the strike zone, getting a good pitch and let it rip. But we have to make sure we stay disciplined in the strike zone."
Rangers: Cruz crushing at torrid pace
Cruz continues to crush the ball in historic fashion, knocking his seventh homer of the season Saturday in the Rangers' 11th game. That's the fewest games for a Rangers batter to get to seven homers, bettering the 13 it took Ian Kinsler to get there in 2007. The only other Major Leaguer since 1952 to homer in seven different games in his first 11 of the season was Luis Gonzalez in '01. ... Saturday's game was the first one for the Rangers this season in which they did not hold a lead.
Yankees: Jeter still on a roll
While the double-play combination's streak came to an end, Derek Jeter had three hits Saturday to keep his hitting streak rolling at 11 games, the longest of his career to start a season. Jeter and Robinson Cano went into Saturday's game having both hit in 10 consecutive games, the first time Yankees teammates had done so to start a season. Cano went 0-for-4, not only seeing the Jeter streak end, but also ending a streak of 27 straight April games with a hit, dating back to last year, the longest April streak since 1903. ... The Yankees' victory Saturday was the 200th in Girardi's tenure.
The Yankees have won nine of the past 13 meetings with the Rangers. ... It was on April 18, 1923, that the original Yankee Stadium hosted its first game, a 4-1 win over Boston.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.