It’s 2010 again: The Rangers and Yankees are finally a must-watch matchup with Texas surging back to relevance in the American League. It’s been a dream season for the Rangers, aside from Jacob deGrom’s injury, but a strong showing by the Yankees against the Mariners shows New York won’t be pushed aside easily. The Yankees are slight home favorites at -130 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Friday night’s matchup and break down why the Rangers are the better bet.
Rangers vs. Yankees Prediction
The Yankees won two games against the Mariners, but the truth remains that their offense just isn’t very good without Aaron Judge. The worst sign is that New York has relied on fill-ins like Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney for production. Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Donaldson are giving New York nothing right now, and that’s a problem against an impressive Rangers pitching staff.
Dane Dunning, the likely starter, is one of Texas’ more vulnerable arms, but the Yankees likely aren’t built to take advantage of his biggest weakness: Contact. Is this lineup really equipped to string together hits and beat Dunning that way? It’s tough to envision.
The path to beating the Rangers will come via pitching. While the Yankees’ bullpen is great, Clarke Schmidt has been allowing far too many hits to feel comfortable with him facing a loaded Rangers lineup. Texas seems to be back on the right track after four wins in five games, and Rangers
Rangers vs. Yankees Prediction: Rangers +105
Rangers vs. Yankees Odds
The Yankees enter as slight home favorites at -130 on the moneyline.
The Rangers are interestingly slight underdogs even after recovering from a tough stretch and winning four of their last five games. Yankee Stadium is a factor, especially after the Yankees’ success against the Mariners, but New York still doesn’t look like the same team without Judge’s presence in the lineup.
Rangers vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rangers vs. Yankees.
Corey Seager vs. Clarke Schmidt
There might not be a hotter hitter in all of baseball right now than Corey Seager. Seager is batting .405 in June with a 1.200 OPS, and he looks like a completely different hitter with shifts limited and him becoming more comfortable with the Rangers. This could be a problem for any starter, but it’s especially a matchup to watch given Schmidt’s inexperience.
Schmidt hasn’t been nearly as bad of late as he was early in the season, but allowing five hits and three walks while lasting less than five innings his last time out was a sign his problems haven’t gone away. Schmidt is allowing 10 hits per nine innings, which is a problematic rate against a Rangers lineup that has 6+ legitimate contact hitters.
With Seager being a doubles machine lately, he’s the hitter Schmidt has to be most careful with.
Yankees’ Contact Hitters vs. Dane Dunning
Dane Dunning has put up pretty impressive raw numbers this season, but he’s certainly not a pitcher who will blow pitches past hitters. Dunning has a shockingly low strikeout rate of 5.4 per nine, down considerably from last season, and he’s relied almost entirely on generating soft contact.
Despite allowing 6+ hits in each of his last seven starts, he’s limited the damage. Do the Yankees have the contact bats to take advantage? Probably not. Lately, New York’s best contact hitters have been Billy McKinney and Jake Bauers. That’s probably not sustainable.
This isn’t a Yankees team that can easily string together hits and unleash a rally right now, and that’s not ideal against a pitcher like Dunning who’s vulnerable against other types of lineups.
Rangers vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien R
SS Corey Seager L
1B Nathaniel Lowe L
RF Adolis Garcia R
3B Josh Jung R
C Jonah Heim S
DH Ezequiel Duran R
LF Travis Jankowski L
CF Leody Taveras S
Yankees Starting Lineup
RF Jake Bauers L
2B Gleyber Torres R
1B Anthony Rizzo L
DH Giancarlo Stanton R
3B Josh Donaldson R
CF Harrison Bader R
LF Billy McKinney L
C Jose Trevino R
SS Anthony Volpe R