Yankees need to step up to avoid failure

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After defeating the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS the Rangers have the advantage.

In Game 4 the Yankees will send troubled starter A.J. Burnett (10-15 5.26 ERA) to the mound. Burnett was part of the massive offseason shopping spree the Yankees had two years ago. Burnett was given a five-year, $82.5 million deal. So far he has been not been playing up to his ability. This creates a major problem for the Yankees rotation. If the Yankees lose Game 4 then they will be one game away from elimination.

With two more games left to play in Arlington, the Rangers will be able to put Cliff Lee on the mound who has been lights out this post season. Lee is coming off eight shutout innings in Yankee Stadium.

Starting pitching is the key to October baseball. The Rangers rotation has been solid so far this series with a 2.23 ERA in the series. The front end of the Yankees rotation has been terrible with an 8.40 ERA in three games. They have also failed to go deep into games. Both CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes only went four innings in their two starts. This has caused the bullpen to be overused and this contributed to the six-run ninth inning the Rangers had in Game 3.

The Rangers rotation is led by Lee, but the rest of the young pitching staff has been nothing short of astounding. In Game 4 the Rangers will send 24-year-old Tommy Hunter to the mound. He will be under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium and it will be interesting to watch how he handles the pressure.

Game 4 will most likely be an offensive night as both starting pitchers are shaky. This plays into the Rangers hands because their bullpen is well rested and should be able to come in and keep the Yankees offense off-balance.

The Yankees offense has not been as effective as it usually is. The two big power hitters for the Yankees, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, have struggled. Teixeira has yet to have a hit in the series.

If they don’t start hitting then the Yankees have no chance in the series. Other significant members of the Yankees lineup such as Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada have also struggled. When the Yankees won the World Series last year their offense was dominant. This postseason they have struggled especially against the left-handed pitching of the Rangers.

Allen Kellogg is a sophomore journalism major from Alexandria, Va.