Originally written on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 3/31/13
Darvish went 8.1 innings while striking out 10 in his only career start against the Yankees.   Threat Level: 8 The Rangers lost Josh Hamilton, arguably their best player, in the offseason, but expectations are still high for them. They were not that busy in the offseason in acquiring players, as Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski were their only major acquisitions, but the team still has a plethora of talent. Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus at the top of the lineup are dangerous, Adrian Beltre just seems to be getting better, and if Nelson Cruz can play a full season, he could put up big numbers. As for their pitching, it is not as strong as their hitting, but it can be pretty good. Darvish had a 3.90 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP in his first season in the majors and Matt Harrison has really broken out over the last 2 seasons, proving to be their best pitcher. Lastly, Joe Nathan returned to form last year as the team’s closer. Add it all up, and you have a playoff contending team.   Projected Lineup 1.Ian Kinsler 2B 2. Elvis Andrus SS 3. Lance Berkman DH 4. Adrian Beltre 3B 5. Nelson Cruz RF 6. David Murphy LF 7. A.J. Pierzynski C 8. Mitch Moreland 1B 9. Leonys Martin CF   Projected Starting Rotation 1. Matt Harrison LHP 2. Yu Darvish RHP 3. Derek Holland LHP 4. Alexi Ogando RHP 5. Nick Tepesch   Closer Joe Nathan   Yankee Killer: Yu Darvish Although he only has 1 career start against the Yankees, that one start was a dandy. He pitched 8.1 innings, struck out 10, and only allowed 9 base-runners (7 hits, 2 walks). Impressive first start against a formidable opponent like the Yankees. However, since the Yanks have faced him once now, they should have more of a feel on how he pitches. So, hopefully the Bombers have better success against Darvish if they face him again in 2013.   Ranger Killer: Kevin Youkilis The Greek God of Walks is now in pinstripes, which is still a little hard to get used to, but looking at his career numbers against the Rangers should make any Yankee fan happy. He has a .319 career average against the Rangers, which is his highest average against an American League opponent (excluding the .407 average he has in 6 games against the Astros). It will be an interesting season seeing Youkilis, a once hated Red Sox, playing for the Yankees this season, but if he provides the offense he is capable of, he will be welcomed by the Yankee fan base.   When They Play The Yankees: IN NY: 6/25-6/27. IN TEX: 7/22-7/25.
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