Texas (10-4) at New York (8-5)

Light Rain with Thunder Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Apr 17, 2011
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Texas Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando(notes) has been superb in his transition from reliever to starter. He may need another excellent performance to remain undefeated Sunday night.

To win his third consecutive start, Ogando might have to outduel former AL Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia(notes) in the finale of a three-game series against a New York Yankees team which may be missing Alex Rodriguez(notes).

After being called up from the minors last June, Ogando was 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 44 relief appearances for the AL champion Rangers. He’s been even better this year in the first two starts of his career, yielding no runs and two hits in each.

Ogando (2-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched at least six innings in both starts but might have lasted longer if it weren’t for a blister on his right index finger. Fluid build-up under a callus on that finger kept him from pitching past the seventh inning during Monday’s 2-1 win in Detroit.

Texas manager Ron Washington told the team’s official website the blister had “dried up.”

“No problems,” he added. “He’s good to go.”

Ogando outdueled Detroit ace Justin Verlander(notes) on Monday and now looks to outpitch another 2010 All-Star as he faces Sabathia (0-1, 1.45), who has allowed four runs in 18 2-3 innings.

The left-hander gave up one run over 5 2-3 innings last Sunday despite allowing 14 hitters to reach base in a 4-0 defeat in Boston.

“You’ve just got to keep making pitches,” Sabathia told the Yankees’ official website. “I’m just out there still trying to make pitches and get ground balls and get outs. My arm felt good. It’s just my delivery is a little off.”

Sabathia started both New York wins over Texas in last year’s AL championship series, including a six-inning performance in a 7-2 victory in Game 5.

Ogando gave up a run in the eighth inning of that game after throwing 3 2-3 scoreless innings in his five previous appearances against New York.

Sabathia is 9-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 16 starts versus the Rangers (10-4), including the playoffs. He’s 19-3 with a 2.41 ERA in his last 29 outings in the Bronx, where the Yankees have won seven of 10.

Sabathia, though, might not have help from Rodriguez. After hitting .563 in his previous five contests, the Yankees third baseman left in the seventh inning Saturday with lower back and oblique stiffness. However, no medical tests were planned.

“His lower right side was stiff,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

New York (8-5) didn’t need his help as Mark Teixeira(notes) and Robinson Cano(notes) homered in a 5-2 victory, just its third in 11 games versus Texas including the postseason.

Rangers veteran Michael Young(notes), batting .418 during a 14-game hit streak in the Bronx, is 15 for 44 (.341) with five doubles against Sabathia - 3 for 6 in the ALCS.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Ogando Bos vs. C. Sabathia NYY
13-8 Record 19-8
3.51 ERA 3.00
126 K 230
43 BB 61
1.14 WHIP 1.23


Sunday, Apr 17