08/10/10 6:37 PM ET
Yanks nor Rangers looking too far ahead
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
It just hasn't meant this much in more than a decade.
On Tuesday, the Rangers topped the Yankees, 4-3, in extra innings in the first game of the two-game series at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. On Wednesday, two of the best teams in the American League will square off again.
Javier Vazquez will take the hill for the Yankees. The Rangers will counter with Cliff Lee.
Texas, tops in the AL West, is focused on the present. It's hard, however, not to think about the past. The Yankees eliminated the Rangers from the playoffs three times during the 1990s and the two teams could be headed for a showdown sometime during the postseason.
But before the clubs can think about October and a playoff rematch from 1999, they'll have to concentrate on Wednesday.
In his last start, Vazquez was handed his first loss since the end of June when he surrendered six runs (three earned) on six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. He struggled with his command, walking four, and served up two home runs.
His velocity also dipped in that start.
"I noticed it was down, but I really can't look at that," Vazquez said. "Once you're out there pitching, you try to do your best with what you have."
As for Lee, the Rangers continue to pitch him every fifth day while pushing other starters back to accommodate him. The Rangers' ace is 5-4 with a 4.72 ERA in 10 career starts against the Yankees, including a complete-game win on June 29 -- his only start against them this year.
In his last start, Lee earned the 100th win of his career after giving up one run on seven hits in eight innings against the Athletics. He now has 10 consecutive outings in which he has pitched at least eight innings, the longest such streak since Toronto's Pat Hentgen turned in 12 in a row in 1996.
"I'm not patting myself on the back for anything," Lee said. "I'm just trying to give my team a chance to win every time out."
Yankees: A-Rod adds to haul in Texas
Alex Rodriguez hit career home run No. 601 on Tuesday which was also his 97th at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the fourth-highest total all-time at the stadium. ... Francisco Cervelli is hitting .317 (20-63) with runners in scoring position this season. ... Curtis Granderson is 12-for-42 (.300) with two doubles and a home run against Lee. ... Derek Jeter has gone 47 games without an error, the longest streak of his career.
Rangers: Cruz consistent at plate lately
Nelson Cruz has one RBI in four of his last six games. ... Michael Young snapped a 0-for-15 drought with a single in the fourth inning Tuesday. ... Ian Kinsler underwent an MRI on Tuesday and the results showed he still had some inflammation in the groin area. He could join the team when the rosters expand on Sept. 1. ... Matt Treanor, who went on the disabled list July 24 with a strained posterior cruciate ligament, could go on a rehab assignment at the end of the week. ... The Rangers are pushing Rich Harden back in the rotation.
The Rangers are 37-23 with a .290 batting average with Kinsler in the lineup and just 27-24 with a .255 average when he's out of the lineup. ... The Yankees Universe fan club will have an exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets to the upcoming Aug. 16-19 series against the Tigers at savings of up to 50 percent in select seating areas. ... Damaso Marte (left shoulder inflammation) accompanied the Yankees on their road trip, but has not worked off a mound yet.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.