After spending time on the disabled list and in the bullpen, Wang tries to put a disastrous early portion of the season behind him as he makes his first start in nearly seven weeks Thursday when the Yankees conclude their three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
New York (31-22) defeated the Rangers 12-3 in Tuesday’s opener, but Texas (31-21) evened the series and took over the best record in the AL with a 4-2 win Wednesday.
The Yankees averaged 7.2 runs in winning five of their previous six, but managed six hits Wednesday.
New York’s high-scoring lineup was without Mark Teixeira(notes), who bruised his right ankle breaking up a double play Tuesday. The injury isn’t considered serious, and Teixeira, who had a career-high 14-game hitting streak end Tuesday, could be back in the lineup for the series finale.
To say Wang got off to a slow start would be an understatement.
The right-hander was knocked around for 23 runs in just six innings in losing his first three starts, yielding at least seven runs in each outing. After being tagged for eight runs in 1 1-3 innings in a 22-4 loss to Cleveland on April 18, Wang was placed on the DL with weakness in the adductor muscles in his hips.
Since being activated May 22, Wang has pitched well out of the bullpen. In three relief appearances, he’s allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings to lower his ERA by more than 18 runs.
Wang threw two scoreless innings at Texas on May 27 and followed that with three shutout innings against Cleveland on Sunday, convincing the Yankees he was back to the form that helped him win 19 games each in 2006 and ’07.
“We weren’t just going to move him to move him,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We had to feel that his stuff was back and watching him these last two times has made us feel that his stuff is back.”
In his last start against the Rangers on May 10, 2007, Wang surrendered seven runs and 11 hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 14-2 loss.
Texas, which has a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL West, is looking to take two of three at Yankee Stadium after dropping two of three to New York at home last week.
“We’re playing so good as a team right now,” winning pitcher Scott Feldman(notes) told the Rangers’ official Web site. “But we’re really not surprised that we’re winning games because we’re getting great defense and timely hitting. Our pitching has been better, too.”
After allowing nine hits and striking out six in a 5-0 win over Houston on May 24 for his first career complete game, McCarthy gave up one run and three hits in six innings of Saturday’s 14-1 win over Oakland.
In his only start against the Yankees, McCarthy yielded one run in 5 1-3 innings to defeat Wang 14-2 at Yankee Stadium on May 10, 2007.
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