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Rangers reporter Sullivan weighs in on Matt Garza

The Yankees have had plenty of experience facing Matt Garza over the past seven seasons. They've had plenty of success against him, too.

New York is 11-1 in 12 games against the right-handed pitcher, having hit 11 home runs and scored 38 runs in 66 1/3 innings against him.

The Yankees will face Garza for the 13th time of his career on Wednesday, but he won't be sporting a uniform the Yankees are accustomed to seeing him wear. After spending two years with the Twins, three years with the Rays and parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Garza will make his debut for the Rangers on Wednesday.

"It's been a few years, but we've seen a lot of him, and he's a pitcher that's had success pretty much anywhere he's been," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's pitched in the American League East, which is not the easiest place to pitch. He's pitched in pennant races. You would expect it to be a good acquisition for the Rangers."

Texas acquired Garza from the Cubs on Monday in exchange for infielder Mike Olt and pitchers Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards, as well as either one or two players to be named, depending on which package the Cubs choose. After missing all of April and most of May with a strained lat he sustained in Spring Training, Garza has gone 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 11 starts this season.

"When he was in Tampa Bay, you saw how he competes," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's a quality pitcher, and we're certainly looking for quality things out of him. The one thing I did tell him is, don't try to put us on his shoulders. Just be who he is; that'll be good enough for us."

Garza, who will face off against veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte, has struggled in his career against a few of the players who are likely to be in the Yankees' lineup. Outfielder Vernon Wells has a .276 career average against Garza, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has batted .286 against him and second baseman Robinson Cano has hit a robust .345 against the veteran righty.

But after talking to Garza, Washington isn't worried about the Yankees' past success.

"He was excited -- big smile on his face," Washington said. "I think I sit here with just as big of a smile as he did. He's ready to go, man. I wouldn't expect anything less."

Yankees: Two trending in opposite directions
• After battling a prolonged slump that lasted through May and June, Wells seems to have finally found his stride again in July. The outfielder is batting .326 with six RBIs in 46 at-bats this month after hitting just .184 with 18 RBIs over his previous 179 at-bats.

"He seems to be back," Girardi said of Wells. "It's good to have him around. I've enjoyed having him on our team, and it's nice to have him swinging the bat well, too."

Travis Hafner hasn't experienced the same turnaround, though. The designated hitter's batting average has dropped every month this season, and he's hitting only .151 in his last 31 games.

Girardi held Hafner out of the starting lineup for Tuesday's 5-4 win, but he's not sure how long he'll have to wait before the veteran slugger turns his season around.

"I guess you could go the rest of the season, right?" Girardi said. "This game's tough. Hitting is tough. I'm not giving up on him. … We know that we need him to produce, and somehow, we have to find a way to get it done."

Rangers: Bullpen finally budges
• When Joe Nathan struck out Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, he extended the Rangers bullpen's streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 25 2/3. But when Texas' All-Star closer gave up an RBI triple to shortstop to Eduardo Nunez two batters later, that streak finally came to an end.

Nathan allowed two ninth-inning runs, the first runs Texas' bullpen had allowed since July 11, against the Orioles. It was just the fourth time in franchise history the bullpen had gone at least seven games without allowing a run.

Texas relievers had allowed only one run since July 7 before Nathan surrendered two on Tuesday, posting a 0.22 ERA during that stretch.

Worth noting
• The Yankees -- who lost, 3-0, on Monday -- are 6-2 in games played immediately following a shutout loss.

• Tuesday marked the first game this season the Rangers had lost when leading after eight innings. They were previously 51-0.

• With three doubles and a triple on Tuesday, the Yankees snapped a 24-inning streak in which they had not recorded an extra-base hit. Comments