04/22/10 8:21 PM ET
Angels host ALCS rematch with Yankees
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
The Angels had just won two out of three from the Yankees, to keep the American League Championship Series alive and send it back to New York. The Yankees, of course, went on to win the World Series. The Angels went home.
Even though they probably wouldn't have minded finishing the ALCS off in Los Angeles, even getting one win at Angel Stadium and then dispatching the Angels in six was an accomplishment.
"I think it does help," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The thing is, they're still a really good club. I think guys kind of got over that feeling of, 'Now what's going to happen?'"
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that although the Angels "fell short of our goal," he feels like his team has improved since that meeting in October.
"I think it's going to show up that we're going to have a much stronger pitching staff from game one through 162," Scioscia said. "Our pitching started to show up in the middle of August. Our starting pitching I think is as deep as anybody's in baseball. That's one important area.
"On the offensive side, we're really scratching the surface of what our lineup can do. Our offensive depth will gather momentum as we get into the season. Last year we had guys hitting with runners in scoring position. I think it has the potential to do that."
What used to happen when the Yankees traveled to the West Coast to take on the Angels was not pretty for New York. The Yankees went 2-4 during the regular season when visiting L.A. in 2009, and that was a step up from the 1-5 2008 showing. Over the previous five years, the Yankees went a combined 7-18 on the road against the Angels.
The current nine-game road trip for the Yankees began by taking two of three from the A's in Oakland, and they did win the series against the Angels back in New York earlier this month. After dropping the finale against the A's on Thursday, the Yankees will send A.J. Burnett to the mound to face Ervin Santana to open this series.
Burnett will be shooting for his third win in a row. He was brilliant in his last outing, firing seven shutout innings against the Rangers. Burnett has gone 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA in six career starts against the Angels, 1-2 with a 4.23 ERA in four starts in Los Angeles. He faced the Angels twice a year ago, winning once and posting a 4.26 ERA.
Santana was equally sharp his last time out, posting his sixth career complete game against the Blue Jays. The right-hander has five wins in nine starts against the Yankees, albeit with a 5.50 ERA. He lost to them after giving up five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings back in New York earlier this month.
Yankees: Defense getting it done
It didn't start out so smoothly, with Yankees defenders making four errors in their first two games. Then they put together a streak of 12 games without an error. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the longest single-season April errorless streak in AL history and tied with the '09 Phillies for the longest such streak in Major League history. Alas, all good things must come to an end. Robinson Cano's throwing error against the A's on Thursday broke the streak.
Angels: Morales finding early power stroke
First baseman Kendry Morales homered on Wednesday night against the Tigers. It was career homer No. 50 for Morales in just his 295th Major League game. That made him the fourth-fastest Angel to reach the half-century mark behind only Tim Salmon, Mike Napoli and Wally Joyner.
The Yankees' six-game winning streak that was snapped on Thursday started with their 6-2 victory against the Angels on April 15. ... Since Alex Rodriguez returned from the disabled list on May 9, 2009, the Yankees have the best record in baseball (112-52). ... The Angels have not lost a season series to the Yankees since 2003 when they won just three out of the nine meetings that year. The Angels are also 34-22 against the Yankees in their past 56 games. ... With a double and single in his first two-at bats Thursday night, Bobby Abreu reached 3,500 career total bases, becoming the 14th active player to hit that plateau. Abreu is one of six players in history with at least 350 stolen bases and at least 250 homers, joining Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds and Craig Biggio.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.