First Pitch: Don't mess with Texas

OK, so now the party's over.

The Yankees may have had a great time at the expense of the Red Sox this weekend at Fenway, but for the next week things get a little tougher, beginning with tonight's game against the Texas Rangers, baseball's best team so far this season.

"Let me use the Dennis Green line," Joe Girardi said when asked about the Rangers in his cramped Fenway Park office after Sunday's rainout was announced. "They are what we thought they were."

In other words, good. Very, very good.

After a bad start in Tampa, the Yankees have a very good record -- 9-6 -- against mostly not-so-good teams. But if you want to know how good the Yankees really are, this will be a good week to find out.

The Rangers are 13-3, have two regulars -- Michael Young and Josh Hamilton -- hitting over .400, and another, Mike Napoli, who homered in five straight games.

Then there's the pitching. Derek Holland, tonight's starter, is 11-1 since last year's All-Star break. Yu Darvish seems to be figuring this American baseball thing out. The Yankees have never faced Scott Feldman, Wednesday's starter, an arrangement that rarely works out well for them. Luckily they will miss Matt Harrison, who is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA so far. Funny, but Texas doesn't seem to miss C.J. Wilson at all.

Here's Girardi's scouting report: "Explosive offensively. Speed, power, play very good defense. Starting pitching is deep, their bullpen is deep. They’re a complete team."

As good as their record is, the Yankees have not seemed complete yet this season. By Girardi's own assessment, his club "has not clicked on all cylinders yet." CC Sabathia, who starts tonight, is 1-0 but his ERA is 5.59 and he still hasn't seemed to kick the fastball command woes he suffered through all spring. Hiroki Kuroda, who faces Darvish in a matchup that is likely to cause many Japanese baseball fans to be late for work (the game starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Japan) has not been anywhere near the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting. And Phil Hughes, who goes Wednesday, looks more like the Hughes who struggled through the 2011 season than the one who breezed through spring training 2012.

On the bright side, the Yankees are hitting -- with the notable exceptions of the new cleanup hitter, Robinson Cano, and his predecessor, Alex Rodriguez. And the bullpen has been good, if overworked, especially for so early in the season.

Girardi said this would be a very fine week for his starting rotation, which looked so good on paper in January, to start looking good on the field, in April. In Arlington.

"We saw what Tex could do the other night," he said, referring to Tuesday, when the Rangers scored eight runs in the first inning against the drowning Red Sox on the way to an 18-3 rout. "If you don’t make your pitches or you’re not sharp early on it could make for a very short night."

The Question: Right now, the Rangers are 13-3, the Yankees 9-6. Which one do you think will finish with the better record at the end of the season? And which do you think will go further in the playoffs?

Up Now: Check out Eric Seidman's Insider piece on where Derek Jeter's Cooperstown-bound career might finish up.

On-Deck Circle: Mark Simon will have a What2Watch4 regarding tonight's game around noon. Clubhouse opens at 3:35, and I'll be there, pen, notebook and tape recorder in hand, so stick around. All day and all night blogging coming up.

Question No. 2: After what you saw this weekend, do you think the Red Sox will be a factor in this division? Or are they toast?