BOMBERS HAVE MORE FIREPOWER THAN TEXASBy Matt Marrone
50 Greatest Yanks
If anything is going to ground the Bronx Bombers this season, it'll be their starting pitching. As for the offense, these Yankees hitters can mash with the best of them -- including the mighty Texas Rangers.
For what it's worth, let's take a look at the two clubs, position by position:
By my calculations, that gives the Yankees a 6-2 advantage. And while the Rangers are hot, I'm not ready to concede the American League to them just yet. The Yankees are aging, but I'm not ready to call them over the hill.
On Friday night, let's come out swinging.
THE RANGERS HAVE THE BETTER LINEUPBy Richard Durrett
This assignment got a little tougher Tuesday when 2010 American League MVP Josh Hamilton fractured a bone in his upper arm, which will force him to miss six to eight weeks. In fact, that means he won't be playing in two series between the Yankees and Rangers this season.
But the Rangers' lineup depth is the very reason they can regroup and stay in contention without a player of Hamilton's caliber. And even without him, I'll argue that Texas has a better overall lineup than the Yankees.
I see my buddy Matt went position by position in his analysis of the lineups. That's one way to do it, though I'd beg to differ with the idea that shortstop and left field are a wash (I'll take David Murphy and Elvis Andrus at those spots). But that's not the way the Rangers' front office or manager Ron Washington looks at this lineup. The Rangers take a big picture view, considering their 12 position players as one group. Top to bottom, that group isn't only better than the Yankees, it's one of the best in the majors.
In the early going this season, the Rangers are ahead of the Yankees in most offensive categories. They've got seven more doubles, four more triples and are averaging more runs per game (nearly six per contest). The Rangers are top-3 in the AL in batting average and on-base percentage, while the Yankees are in the middle of the pack.
Nelson Cruz gives the Rangers one of the most feared power hitters in the game and a guy who can drive in runs no matter where he is in the lineup. Ian Kinsler is perhaps the most versatile leadoff hitter in the league. He can hit home runs, draw walks and steal bases, impacting the game in several different ways. Mitch Moreland isn't Mark Teixeira, but he's shown a veteran maturity when it comes to fighting in every at-bat, waiting for his pitch and then driving it.
The Rangers need more from Adrian Beltre at the plate, though he has a knack for big hits. Julio Borbon has struggled to start 2011, and Andrus is still finding his rhythm. But there are examples of slow starts on every team, including New York. Plus, the Rangers have Mike Napoli, a terror against lefties, and Chris Davis, who hit towering homers in spring training and early this season in Triple-A, off the bench.
Overall, it's a lineup with few holes and many ways to beat you. And it matches up, even against the mighty Yankees.