10/05/2002 10:14 pm ET
Angels put the wood to Yankees
Halos hit a gaudy .376 in the four-game ALDS
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The best-hitting team in the American League during the regular season outdid itself in a best-of-five series that lasted just four games.
Take a big bow, Angels hitters.
After tying the club record for highest batting average (.282) in their first 162 games this season, the Angels hitters mugged Yankees pitching with a remarkable .376 average (56-for-149) while scoring 31 runs in advancing to the American League Championship Series.
"Our guys showed endless tenacity," said hitting coach Mickey Hatcher following the Angels' 9-5 Game 4 victory over the Yankees Saturday afternoon at Edison Field. "We started out aggressively and kept it going.
"The Yankees have a fine pitching staff, but our approach was 'Don't let their pitchers intimidate you.'"
It was the Yankee pitchers who were intimidated.
"We haven't pitched as well as we're capable," said Yankees manager Joe Torre before his four-time defending AL champions were dethroned. "But that doesn't
mean that they're not good in what they do and what they've done to us in their approach."
The Angels hitters were consistently aggressive, but didn't strike out much -- 18 times.
"When you are facing tough pitching, you have to get to the next pitch," shortstop David Eckstein said. "You may not get a hit, but you will make the pitcher word harder. If you make an easy out, that is going to let them get on a
roll and that's what we wanted to prevent."
The Angels continually made Yankees pitchers work.
Right fielder Tim Salmon, who batted just .263 but drove in a team-high seven runs, said the lofty team batting average was surprising.
"You don't expect something like that," the veteran said. "I can guarantee we
might have felt confident going in that we would play well, but I don't think we
felt we'd do that (hit .376). I think it's just a group of guys with a lot of
Salmon said playing the Yankees didn't intimidate the Angels, but inspired them.
"You can't help but be motivated playing them," he said. "It helps you rise to
another level, or whatever. We put the ball in play as a club. I think that's
what you saw."
There was production from the top (No. 2 hitter Darin Erstad batted .421), the
middle (Garret Anderson (the cleanup hitter batted .389) and the bottom. The
Angels' ninth-place hitters, Adam Kennedy and Benji Gil, were a combined
8-for-13 and scored five runs. Designated hitter Shawn Wooten had three hits in
Saturday's game and went 6-for-9 (.667) in the series.
There simply were no easy outs in the Angels lineup.
"We've been able to put pressure on clubs from one-through-nine," manager Mike
Scioscia said. "I think that's why our offense is so consistent."
He won't get an argument from the Yankees.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
This story was not subject to the approval of MLB or its clubs.