Most of the talk in Arlington currently surrounds Matt Garza’s first start for the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers will add another key cog to their rotation Tuesday night, however, as Alexi Ogando looks to lead Texas to a fourth straight win over the New York Yankees.
The right-hander will make his return to the Rangers after missing over a month with right shoulder inflammation. Ogando (4-2, 2.93 ERA) went 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in four starts before the injury landed him on the DL.
This will be his first appearance since June 5, when he limited Boston to one run and three hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 3-2 victory.
“He’s ready to throw over 100 pitches,” manager Ron Washington told the team’s official site. “The bats of the New York Yankees will tell us how far he can go. If my ears start to hurt, I’ll go get him. If I don’t hear the loud sounds of their bats, we’ll keep him out there.”
Ogando has only won two of his last eight starts despite a 3.50 ERA during that span. That’s due to an offense that has provided him with 17 runs in those games.
While Ogando has a 10.03 career ERA against the Yankees, all of those bad performances have come in New York. He has yet to give up a run in 2 2-3 innings against them at home.
He will face an offense that has been highly inconsistent over the past couple of weeks. After recording 12 runs and 25 hits over their last two games in Boston, the Yankees were held to three hits in Monday’s 3-0 loss to Texas (55-44). New York has scored two runs or fewer seven times in 12 games and has four homers in the past 16 contests.
“There’s only two things you can control in life - your preparation and effort,” manager Joe Girardi told the team’s official site. “I’m getting that. I’m not going to get down on these guys, because I get that (effort) every day. Tomorrow is a new day. This group has been pretty resilient all year.”
Ichiro Suzuki is 3 for his last 18, while Robinson Cano, who entered batting .415 over a 12-game hit streak, went 0 for 4 on Monday.
The Yankees (52-47) have been held scoreless in their last 20 innings against the Rangers.
Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.57) knows all about New York’s offensive struggles. The right-hander has lost five of his last six starts, with his teammates providing him with one run of support in those defeats.
That included a June 27 outing against Texas in which Hughes lost despite surrendering two runs in eight innings.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.16 ERA in four starts against the Rangers, but did give up four runs over 2 2-3 innings in his last appearance in Arlington, a 7-3 loss April 25, 2012.
Adrian Beltre (3 for 18 with six strikeouts), A.J. Pierzynski (3 for 15), Elvis Andrus (0 for 10), Ian Kinsler (1 for 10) and Nelson Cruz (2 for 9) have all struggled against Hughes.
Hughes struck out a season-high 10 over 7 1-3 innings but was derailed by three homers in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota on July 13.
“It’s frustrating,” Hughes said. “I’ve felt good with my stuff over the last three or four starts. There’s just one or two mistakes that I have to stay away from.”
He had surrendered just three home runs over his prior six starts spanning 36 1-3 innings.