After a three-game sweep of the reigning World Series champion, the Texas Rangers are feeling especially confident as they close in on the AL West crown.
They'll look to win their sixth straight while inching closer to their first division title since 1999 as they begin a two-game set with the visiting Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
In addition to sending a message to New York before a possible postseason meeting, the Rangers' weekend sweep of the Yankees cut Texas' magic number for clinching the division to 12.
There remain some concerns for the Rangers (80-63) - one of them Josh Hamilton's lingering rib injury - but a major worry was soothed Sunday as ace Cliff Lee emerged from a personal slump with eight dominant innings in a 4-1 victory.
"Hopefully we can keep this momentum," said Lee, who had been dealing with back soreness while going 0-3 with an 8.28 ERA in his previous five starts.
Hamilton has missed the last eight games for Texas with bruised ribs, and it remains unclear when the majors' leading hitter will return to the lineup.
"When he tells me he's ready to go, he'll start taking (batting practice) and get it going," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website.
Texas has hardly struggled offensively without its MVP candidate, averaging 5.8 runs during its winning streak. Vladimir Guerrero has helped lead the way, going 15 for 30 with five doubles and a home run in his last seven contests.
The Rangers, however, will face a challenge if Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman (8-9, 5.03 ERA) pitches like he did in his most recent outing.
The right-hander retired the first 10 batters he faced against Chicago on Wednesday and limited the White Sox to three hits in eight innings of a 5-1 victory.
"That's the best I've felt in a while," Bonderman said. "That's what you strive for as a pitcher. It doesn't happen often, but it definitely feels good."
Bonderman has never pitched so well against Texas, averaging fewer than six innings while posting a 5.32 ERA in eight outings.
The Rangers' Derek Holland (3-3, 4.31) is coming off his first win since May 17. The left-hander had lost his previous three starts, but struck out eight in five shutout innings during an 8-1 win at Toronto on Wednesday.
Holland has never faced the Tigers, but he'll surely be aware of Miguel Cabrera, who has batted .356 with 16 RBIs in 13 games at Arlington.
The major league RBI leader hit a three-run double in the eighth inning Sunday to put Detroit (72-72) ahead in a 6-2 win over Baltimore. Cabrera was 5 for 11 with a homer and six RBIs in that series, although the Tigers lost two of three.
"If I were managing against him, I'm not sure I'd even pitch to him with the bases loaded," teammate Brandon Inge said. "He just kills everyone."
Opposing managers apparently agree, as Cabrera has been walked intentionally 30 times. The AL record is 33, held by John Olerud and Ted Williams.
The Rangers won't have closer Neftali Feliz available, as he is with his wife in New York City after their daughter was born early Tuesday morning.