Thursday, July 22, 2010

Series in Review: LA Angels... of Anaheim

… Phew ….

Following a well deserved off-day on Monday, the Angels came to the Bronx to take on the Yankees in a short two-game series.

Tuesday’s matchup appeared extremely favorable with Phil Hughes on the mound against Sean O’Sullivan. However, this was not the case. Phil Hughes has been fairly awful at home this year, posting a 4.74 ERA inside Yankee Stadium. Also, anybody and everybody that follows the Yankees understands that they simply don’t hit guys that they are seeing for the first time. I would venture to guess that these guys generally are amped to face the Yankees and throw a ton of strikes. The Yanks love to work the count and, for whatever reason, just don’t hit rookies well.

The game started off great as Nick Swisher smashed a ball deep to right to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st. After loading the bases, O’Sullivan allowed a fielders choice out to score Mark Teixeira and the Yankees held a 2-0 lead. I still remember listening to the guy next to me in the bleachers say, “Well, I guess Hughes will only have 2 runs to work with tonight.” He was right.

Maicer Izturis hit an RBI single in the 2nd inning and Torii Hunter added an RBI single in the 3rd to tie the game. Izturis nailed a 2-run shot to right to give the Angels the lead for good. Hideki Matsui would walk in the top of the 6th and Mike Napoli would homer to knock Hughes out of the game and give the Angels a 6-2 lead. Hughes would only go 5+ allowing 6 earned runs on 9 hits and 3 walks.

If it seems like I’m not talking much about Yankee hitting, that’s because they only had 6 hits all game and only 2 of them occurred between the 2nd and 8th innings. O’Sullivan ended up doing a fine job, backed by excellent Angel defense.

Matsui would tack on a 2-run homer and Napoli would add a 2-run double to secure a 10-2 win for the Angels. Trust me when I say that this was a tough game to sit through. The most exciting part was when a huge fight broke out in section 202 in the bleachers. About 20 people were kicked out from the game after a mosh-pit erupted with fists flying. I suppose the frustrations finally mounted!

Wednesday, on the other hand, was a spectacular day to go to the game! Javier Vazquez took the mound for the Yankees against Joel Piniero.

The Yankees struck first with an RBI groundout by Alex Rodriguez to score Derek Jeter. Jeter and Swisher singled and doubled to give the Yankees 2nd and 3rd in the bottom of the 3rd for Mark Teixeira. The Angels opted to go after Teixeira instead of A-Rod. Pick your poison! Tex ripped a ball into the right-centerfield gap to score Jeter and Swisher and give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Robinson Cano would proceed to hammer a 416 ft. bomb into the Yankee bullpen. Another RBI double in the 4th by Teixeira put the Yanks up 6-0.

Javier Vazquez was about to make things interesting, though. The 7,8,9 hitters in the Angels’ order would double, single and homer to make the game 6-3 in the 5th inning. Matsui would hit his 3rd homer of the year in Yankee Stadium and make the game 6-5. David Robertson came on in relief, loaded the bases, and escaped without further damage. The most interesting inning of the game was the bottom of the 7th. Juan Miranda punished a ball into right-center to extend the lead to 7-5. Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli got on 1st and 3rd for Brett Gardner.

Gardner worked the count to 0-2 and voiced his displeasure about the strike-zone to the umpire. The condescending man in blue tossed Gardner from the game immediately. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a player tossed in the middle of an at-bat, but Colin Curtis was called upon to finish the at-bat. He worked the count to 3-2 and crushed a ball into the rightfield seats for his first career homerun. He was given a curtain call and the fans went nutty. It was truly awesome to see the kid get that great of an opportunity and capitalize. The Yankees went up 10-5, Joba Chamberlain gave one run back and Mariano Rivera closed the door.

Notes on the Series:
1) Phil Hughes’ ERA at home is now 5.24. Yes, he was an All-Star this year.
2) Alex Rodriguez continues to sit on #598.
3) Jonathan Albaladejo was called up from AAA and pitched 1.2 innings on Tuesday allowing 1 earned run.
4) Chan Ho Park is still awful.
5) Robinson Cano has 995 hits, 5 away from 1,000.
6) Hideki Matsui has homered in 5 of his last 7 games in Yankee Stadium. He still receives an ovation and will for life.
7) Yankees and Angels are 4-4 against each other this year.

Yankee Stats:
Record: 1-1
Batting Average: 21 for 71 (.296)
RISP: 4 for 17 (.235)
Homeruns: 4
Runs Scored: 12
ERA: 8.00

Angel Stats:
Record: 1-1
Batting Average: 29 for 78 (372)
RISP: 7 for 23 (.304)
Homeruns: 5
Runs Scored: 16
ERA: 4.76

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