Yankees @ Angels Series Preview

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “Wow, Matt finally decided to post a series preview, it’s only been more than a week.”  Well you know what?  Sue me.  Don’t actually sue me, but I’m done with not writing series previews unless something comes up, but for the time being I’m free so let’s preview the heck out of this weekend’s series against the Angels.

(Jimrome.com)

Don’t worry it’s almost over.  We are two thirds of the way through this wretched west coast trip and we are down to out final stop: Los Angeles.  The Angels currently sit at 29-29 and 2.5 games out of the American League West.  They have also been playing just about .500 baseball over the last couple of weeks.  Talk about a team that’s consistent.

Callaspo is proving to be a good find. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Offensively as a unit, the Halos are a middle-of-the-pack bunch.  They rank in the middle of the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wOBA, and wRC+.  They don’t walk a lot (ranking in the bottom four in BB%) and strike out quite a bit (top five in K%) so that bodes well for a rather hot Yankees pitching staff.  They do get lucky though as they do own a .301 BABIP which is good for second in the AL.

From an individual stand point, it’s been all about the infield.  Shortstop Erick Aybar is the only hitter batting over .300 who is not injured.  Third baseman Alberto Callaspo is also putting together a nice year hitting .299/.371/.388.  And first baseman Mike Trumbo is the only guy in the lineup that has served as any power threat, leading the team in homers with ten.  When it comes to speed, Aybar and designated hitter/outfielder and ex-Yankee Bobby Abreu are the two to look out for as they have swiped 14 and 8 bags, respectively.  Here’s a look at their projected lineup, even though it is switched up quite often:

  1. Erick Aybar, SS
  2. Maicer Izturis, 2B
  3. Bobby Abreu, LF
  4. Torri Hunter, RF
  5. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
  6. Russell Branyan, DH
  7. Mike Trumbo, 1B
  8. Hank Conger, C
  9. Peter Bourjos, CF

Now on to the pitching.  The Angels starting pitching has actually been very good as a whole.  They are second in the American League in innings pitched, FIP, BB/9, and HR/9, are first in WHIP, but only strike out a decent amount at 6.50 K/9.  Here are the projected pitching match-ups for the weekend:

Friday

Ivan Nova (4-3, 4.67 ERA) vs. Jered Weaver (6-4, 2.10 ERA)

Saturday

CC Sabathia (6-3, 2.98 ERA) vs. Danny Haren* (5-3, 2.29)

Sunday

Bartolo Colon (3-3, 3,26 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (3-4, 4.34 ERA)

*-Tweaked his back during a bullpen session, may be scratched

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

And last, but certainly not least, the old bullpen.  To be pretty blunt about it, Anaheim doesn’t have to good of a pen.  They don’t strike out a lot (6.85 K/9) and they walk a good amount (4.45 BB/9).  And sure they have a 3.67 ERA as a whole, but their FIP is at 4.28.  A guy the Yankees were interested in over the off-season, Scott Downs, has been pitching well along with Fernando Rodney, Rich Thompson, and closer Jordan Walden.  One guy you can bet we will see is ex-Met Hisanori Takahashi who owned the Bombers in two starts against them last season.

From a New York standpoint, there are two thing to watch for.  One: will Ivan Nova respond to the pressure and pitch well or will he pitch poorly and make the Yankees consider sending him to the bullpen or Scranton.  And two: can the bats stay hot?  The Yankees offense has been pretty good of late averaging 5.5 runs per game since that brutal sweep handed to us by the Red Sox.  Let’s keep it rolling.

So there we have it.  The stage is set and all that’s left is to play the games.  Boy, I cannot way until these three games are over because these late nights are a killer.  Tomorrow’s game will start at 10:05.

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