No one is expected to step up and fill the void in the New York Yankees’ starting rotation created by the injury to Masahiro Tanaka.
That’s because Brandon McCarthy seems to have already taken care of it.
Entering his fourth start since being acquired July 6, McCarthy will try to keep rolling and improve his fortunes against one of his former clubs Tuesday night as the Yankees look to avoid a series loss against the pitiful Texas Rangers.
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While Tanaka went 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA and .185 opponent average through his first three starts, McCarthy (2-0, 1.45 ERA) has been as effective – though a bit more hittable with a .260 opponent average.
He’s held each of his opponents to one earned run, including Texas in Thursday’s 4-2 victory. The right-hander surrendered four hits with five strikeouts over six innings, giving him a 4-0 record with a 1.78 ERA in his last five starts overall.
"It’s a nice feeling," McCarthy told MLB’s official website. "It’s the opposite of how I felt earlier this year, where I was a burden on my team. I was a guy that was holding things up. To come here and feel good about myself again, to contribute to a playoff race, is a great feeling."
Along with the change of leagues has come added run support. With Arizona, McCarthy received an average of 3.20 runs, which ranked seventh lowest in baseball before the trade. Thus far in New York, his RSA is 6.75, and while that might be easing some of the pressure, he’s enjoying the bigger stage and higher stakes as the Yankees try to track down Baltimore and Toronto in the AL East.
"I was at a point where I really felt like I wanted more pressure, more something," McCarthy said. "Kind of the fight or flight thing; I’ve always responded well to it. To get into a situation now where that’s the case – especially doing it for a team like the Yankees – it’s ramped up all the way."
McCarthy’s visits to Texas since leaving in free agency after the 2010 season have been quite rough with a 0-2 record and 7.65 ERA in four starts. Adrian Beltre is batting .389 in 36 at-bats against McCarthy, but Alex Rios is just 1 for 19.
The Yankees (54-51) started the series with a 4-2 loss Monday that was their third straight and dropped them 4 1/2 games behind the Orioles. It also soured Derek Jeter’s eclipsing of Carl Yastrzemski for seventh place on the all-time hits list.
Jeter and Brett Gardner each collected three hits, and Gardner left the yard twice for the first time in his career. Jeter’s night boosted his average to .278, his highest since entering April 27 at .292.
Texas (42-64) is in position to win back-to-back contests for the first time since June 27-28, but it’ll take ending a seven-game skid in contests Nick Martinez has started.
Martinez (1-6, 4.73) is winless in eight starts with a 0-5 record and 6.98 ERA, though he probably deserved better in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss in New York. The right-hander held the Yankees to three hits in 5 1-3 scoreless innings after coming off the disabled list.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira played for the first time in eight games and gathered a pinch-hit single. After missing a week because of a back strain, the former Ranger hopes to be back in the starting lineup Tuesday.
Third baseman Chase Headley has hit safely in each of his seven games with New York and has a 10-game streak overall. He’s batting .337 in his last 20.