ALCS Game 4 Preview: Rangers at Yankees

A quick preview of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

The New York Yankees are down two-games-to-one and send A.J. Burnett to the hill for Game 4. Burnett’s 15 losses are tied for the second-most by a pitcher who started a postseason game for the Yankees. Jim "Catfish" Hunter started in the 1976 postseason after losing 15 games, and "Bullet" Joe Bush started a game in 1923 after losing 16 games, including one earlier in the postseason.

A.J. Burnett Postseason Career

From the Elias Sports Bureau: Burnett finished the season with a 5.26 ERA. That would be the third-highest ERA for a Yankees pitcher who started a postseason game. Denny Neagle made three postseason starts in 2000, a year in which he had a 5.81 ERA for the Yankees. He went 0-2 with a no-decision in those postseason starts, with the Yankees winning the last of the three (Game 4 of the World Series against the Mets). Bump Hadley had a 5.31 ERA for the Yankees in 1937. He made one start for them in the World Series that season and lost, allowing five runs in 1⅓ innings.

However, Burnett is 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA vs the Rangers in six starts with the Yankees, not having allowed more than three runs in any game. Additionally, only one current Ranger has a career batting average higher than .294: catcher Matt Treanor, who is 1-for-1.

The Rangers counter with Tommy Hunter, who lost his postseason debut in the NLDS against the Rays, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in four innings. That was Hunter’s first loss at home this season!

Tommy Hunter 2010

In his short career, Hunter is 0-1 in two starts against the Yankees, allowing seven earned runs on 14 hits in 9⅓ innings.

The nine Yankee hitters who are starting Game 4 are a combined 12-for-33 (.387) with two doubles and a home run, but Hunter has never pitched in New York, at old or new Yankee Stadium.

Veteran umpire Angel Hernandez is behind the plate tonight, and Hunter has never pitched with Hernandez umping the plate. But Burnett has made seven career starts with Hernandez calling balls and strikes, and has a 5.08 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .307.