New York Yankees hope to slow down Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks, right, celebrates with first baseman Greg Bird, left, after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox in the fifth inning on August 8 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a6451e8aa8100ae65656e89300f91020/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks, right, celebrates with first baseman Greg Bird, left, after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox in the fifth inning on August 8 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- Texas Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman grew up rooting for the Boston Red Sox in the Dominican Republic.

It is 88 games into his career, but Ronald Guzman is someone the New York Yankees are struggling to get out, leading to the phrase "Yankee-killer" being used by fans.


The Yankees hope they can get Guzman out Saturday afternoon when they continue a four-game series with the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

Guzman sat when the Yankees opened the series with left-hander J.A. Happ and a 7-3 win on Thursday. He helped Texas even the series with a 12-7 victory on Friday by homering three times -- twice off Masahiro Tanaka in the fourth and sixth innings and then by connecting off A.J. Cole in the seventh.


Making it more special for the 24-year-old Guzman was that his father watched him in person for the first time since Guzman reached the majors. Eight other family members and his little league coach were also present.

"I want to kill them every time I go out there, to be honest," Guzman said regarding the Yankees after becoming the youngest player to homer three times in the Bronx since a 23-year-old Mickey Mantle did it on May 13, 1955. "I never liked the Yankees growing up."

Guzman has 12 homers and half are against the Yankees. Before Friday, he had homered off right-handers Chad Green and Domingo German as well as left-hander CC Sabathia when Texas took two of three on May 21-23.

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Guzman produced the 18th regular-season game in team history in which a player hit three homers in a game. It was the second against the Yankees and first since Larry Parrish on April 29, 1985, against Ron Guidry and John Montefusco.

"That was a great night," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "What a wonderful night."

Although the Yankees are vying for a playoff spot and the Rangers are out of the race, Guzman's big night continued some recent trends for both teams.


After being unable to get Guzman out, the Yankees are 4-6 in their last 10 games and 10-10 since the All-Star break. Texas is 10-4 in its last 14 games after a 2-11 stretch. The Rangers also have won 10 of the last 17 meetings with the Yankees and eight of the last 12 in New York.

"Just a game we need to try to forget about," Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner said.

Lance Lynn (8-8, 4.58 ERA) will make his second start and third appearance since the Yankees acquired him from Minnesota on July 30. Lynn pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a 7-5 loss against Baltimore and then dazzled in his first start for the Yankees, a night after an excruciating 10-inning loss in Boston.

"I've seen this guy pitch like this most of his career," Boone said. "When he came here, I felt like we were getting a guy that was very capable of this. Hopefully, this is what we can expect to see routinely."

Lynn was inserted into the rotation to replace a struggling Sonny Gray and allowed two hits while striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings of a 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday. Lynn allowed an infield single in the first inning to Daniel Palka and a base hit to Nicky Delmonico in the eighth.


Lynn enters with an 11 2/3-scoreless-inning streak, the longest by a Yankee to begin a career with the team since Andrew Miller (17 2/3 innings) in 2015. The club record is 18 scoreless innings set by Joe Doyle in 1906 and matched by Allie Reynolds in 1947.

The right-handed Lynn is facing the Rangers for the first time, and if there is a save situation, the Yankees hope Aroldis Chapman can show his usual velocity. Chapman's velocity was diminished slightly in a non-save situation Thursday, but the Yankees do not think it is due to a physical issue.

"He's mechanically kind of freakish in the way he's able to generate the kind of velocity he does," Boone said. "So, I think he's fighting that a little bit, so he's kind of not getting that kinetic chain perfectly in sync that allows him to have that velocity. But I don't think it's an injury concern."

Drew Hutchison (1-2, 6.29) has plenty of familiarity with the Yankees from his days with the Toronto Blue Jays and will make his second start since signing with the Rangers on Sunday.


Hutchison is 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 10 career appearances (nine starts) against the Yankees. All of those starts were for the Toronto, which he made 76 appearances for from 2012 to 2016.

Hutchison is 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in his last four starts against the Yankees. He last faced the Yankees on Aug. 16, 2015, in Toronto when he allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings.

Hutchison made his debut for the Rangers Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, when he allowed six runs on six hits in three innings of a 9-6 loss. It was his first start since Sept. 10, 2016, and he was the first Ranger to allow at least six runs in a debut for the team since Kyle Lohse.

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