New York still has fresh memories of winning three of four from the Angels in September, and having home-field advantage for the best-of-seven American League Championship Series as well as A-Rod suddenly finding his postseason bat are huge. But the Yankees live up to their team name when playing the Angels, who should be renamed the Yankers. For no one applies the ultimate titty twister to New York like Anaheim.
"What makes them tough is they hit, they pitch, they run, they steal, they play defense, good bullpen, good closer, good manager," Jeter told the media after his team swept Minnesota last night. "I think that pretty much wraps it up."
No, Jeetz, this baker's dozen wraps up why Angel fans should feel comfortable heading into the Big Apple Friday.
1) The only American League team to have a winning record against the Yankees during Joe Torre's 12 years as manager (through 2007) was the Angels. They won 7 of 10 against the Joe Girardi-skippered Yankess in 2008 and the teams went 5-5 in regular season games this regular season past.
2) The Yankees lost division series to the Angels in 2002 and 2005.
3) The Angels (.285) hit two point better than the Yankees this season.
4) New York only hit .225 in their division series against the Twins.
5) Abreu, Figgins, Aybar, etc., etc. on first base vs. Posada behind the plate.
6) Abreu, Figgins, Aybar, etc., etc. on the base paths vs. Damon, Cabrera, Swisher in New York's outfield.
7) While Jeter can still smack the stitches off the ball, he's lost a step or three defensively.
8) New York seems poised to ride the arm of workhorse Sabathia, but it's important to note he lost both starts against the Angels this season, allowing 9 earned runs and 17 hits in 13 1/3 innings. He is 5-7 with a 4.72 earned run average in 14 career starts against the Angels.
9) Lackey's had the Yanks' number.
10) Kazmir (shaky as he was in game 3 against Boston) also has a history of doing well against NY.
11) One of two weakness pundits point to when discounting the Angels is power hitting. But their bats came alive at just the right moments against Boston's vaunted pitching. The Angels' 180 home runs this season lagged behind power-mad New York's, but they were still the most Anaheim has hit out of parks in six years, and four players hit 20. And 11 Angels drove in at least 50 runs.
12) The other supposed weakness is the Angel bullpen. But in their last nine and a third innings against the Yankees, the Halos' relievers allowed just one earned run.
13) When the Yanks come out West, the likelihood increases greatly that re-hot A-Rod will suffer a bad reaction to Kate Hudson's home cooking. Just look what it did to Chris Robinson.
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Read alt. weekly 2009 Postseason Throwdown coverage for:
New York Yankees: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/baseball/
Colorado Rockies: http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/baseball/
Los Angeles Dodgers: http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/sports/
Anaheim/LA Angels: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/baseball/
Read them all together here: http://www.villagevoice.com/baseball/