Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Series Ahead: Yankees Vs. Angels

Yankees - Angels
Yankee Stadium
(2 Games)

The Yankees returned from the All-Star break hurting from the losses of two iconic figures in Yankee History. In true Yankee fashion, tribute was paid, and business was taken care of. The Yankees managed to take 2 of 3 from the second place Rays despite an injury shortened start by Andy Pettitte, and a mental case shortened start from AJ Burnett. This should be no surprise as it is what the Yankees have done all year. Constantly someone on the team is struggling yet the Yankees continue to win games, and series. With some luck this Yankee team has managed to have little to no stretches where multiple players are slumping. This has allowed the team to play excellent baseball and hold the best record in the Major's.

The dreaded two game set features two Yankee Starters trending in opposite directions. Phil Hughes will start the first game tonight. Hughes has been scuffling heading into the break. He also took the loss in the ASG. While Javy Vazquez' early season struggles are well documented he has been arguably the Yankees best starter over the past month. Hopefully Phil can get back on track, and Javy can keep things rolling (if only he got any run support!).

The perennial AL West winners the Anaheim Angels come in to the series as a team with an identity crisis. Gone are Chone Figgins, John Lackey, and Vlad Guerrero. Kendry Morales lost to a freak injury. Former Twins face of the franchise Torii Hunter, now an Angels Veteran is the face of the team. The Angels are struggling for the first time in many years, because they have been unable to replace pieces they have let go. The organizational well seems to be drying up and the Angels are fighting to defend their spot atop the AL West. Despite this the Angels sit 5 games back of the Texas Rangers for the division lead and came out of the All-star break taking 3 of 4 games from the lowly Mariners. They begin a critical stretch of their schedule tonight as they face the Yankees for 2 games. Followed by the Rangers for 4, the Red Sox for 3, and the Rangers again for 3. A 12 game stretch that may determine the Angels fate this season.

Hopefully the Yankees can be the first step in ruining the Angels season. I for one (despite 2009 success) do not want to see the Halo's come October. This will be a tough series. As always our defense will be tested and our weakness' will be exposed. Some teams do not make you pay for making mistakes. The Angels are not one of those teams. This will be a good series to analyze where the Yankees can improve before the deadline.


Game 1: Tonight @ 7:05 p.m. TV:MY9 Radio: WCBS
RHP Phil Hughes (11-2, 3.65) vs. RHP Sean O'sullivan (0-0, 1.29)

Game 2: Wednesday @ 1:05 p.m. TV: YES Radio: WCBS
RHP Javy Vazquez (7-7, 4.45) vs. RHP Joel Piniero (10-6, 3.95)

Three Questions
  • Is Derek Jeter in a rare prolonged slump? Or has he begun to show his age?
  • Can Hughes get back on track at critical juncture?
  • Has Joba lost his spot as the 8th inning bridge to Mariano?
Injury Report

- DH/1B Nick Johnson is on the 60-day DL with an inflamed tendon in the wrist. Set back on July 5th set to visit a wrist specialist.
- RHP Alfredo Aceves is on the 15-day DL with lower back discomfort. Was unable to finish his latest bullpen session.
- RHP Sergio Mitre is on the 15-day DL (Expected to start Saturday vs KC)
- LHP Andy Pettitte has a Grade 1 groin strain. Expected to miss 4-5 weeks.

- 1B Kendry Morales is out for the season. Fractured Left Leg.
- LHP Scott Kazmir is on the 15-day DL with left Shoulder Fatigue
- RHP Matt Palmer is on the 15-day DL Right Shoulder Sprain
- RHP Brian Stokes is on the 15-day DL Right Shoulder Fatigue
- 2B Maicer Izturis is on the 15-day DL Left Forearm strain
- RHP Jason Bulger is on the 15-day DL strained right shoulder

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