Why do the Angels kill the Yankees?

A-Rod homers in intrasquad game
On sample sizes, too small and just right

Tonight begins a four-game set between the Yankees and the Angels, the first of their 2009 meetings. Over the years commentators have been quick to point out the Halos’s relative dominance of the Bombers. In nearly every national broadcast the announcers mention that the Angels were the only MLB team with a winning record against the Yanks with Joe Torre at the helm. It’s just one of those quirky things about baseball.

Year Record
1996 6-7
1997 7-4
1998 5-6
1999 4-6
2000 5-5
2001 3-4
2002 4-3
2003 6-3
2004 4-5
2005 4-6
2006 4-6
2007 3-6
Total 55-61

That’s a .474 win percentage during the Torre years. Even worse are the Scioscia years, which run 2000 through present: 36-45 (.444). This includes last year, where the Yanks went 3-7 against the Angels under Joe Girardi. Why exactly do the Yankees, who have an overall 862 – 592 record (.593) from 2000 through 2008, flop in the face of the Angels? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s just Scioscia’s style that unhinges the team, throws it off its game plan.

The Yankees have a real opportunity to beat up on a weakened team this time around. The Angels are 9-11 and have been decimated by injuries. Vlad Guerrero won’t be around, nor will John Lackey, Ervin Santana, or Kelvim Escobar. Instead the Yanks will face Anthony Ortega, a 23-year-old prospect who got roughed up in his Major League debut, and Matt Palmer, a 30-year-old journeyman who got roughed up in 12 innings for the Giants last year.

What’s truly strange, though, is that the three missing Angels’ pitchers haven’t fared too well, relatively, against the Yanks. John Lackey has a 4.81 ERA in 95.1 career innings, Escobar a 4.11 in 35 (while pitching for the Angels), and Santana 5.09. Thankfully there’s still Jered Weaver, who the Yanks have knocked around for 15 runs in 22 innings, and Joe Saunders, who has allowed 13 runs over 15.1 innings. In other words, the Yankees have an opportunity to beat up on a normally-strong opponent this weekend. If they’re going to turn things around, this is the chance right here.

A-Rod homers in intrasquad game
On sample sizes, too small and just right
  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Grit.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Instead the Yanks will face Anthony Ortiz, a 23-year-old prospect who got roughed up in his Major League debut, and Matt Palmer, a 30-year-old journeyman who got roughed up in 12 innings for the Giants last year.

    First thing I thought of when I read this: Man, that Nick Adenhart loss is just brutal for the Angels team.

    Imagine how much we’d be scrambling if Joba or Hughes were just taken away from us in the blink of an eye. I pity the Angels.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      I think i’ve filled my untimely death quota for the next 10 years.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Indeed.

        Allow me to continue to rain on your parade: You used to have the best pair of juggs around here. Now, that title belongs to ARod.

  • A.D.

    The Angles “make things happen” on the base paths.

    • jsbrendog

      im sorry, i know it was probably just a typo but ive seen soooooooooo many people do it.

      Angles = triangles, protractors, kurt.

      Angels = baseball team with identity crisis

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yes, but the Angels have misspelled their own name on their jerseys of a few occasions.

        • jsbrendog

          so nationals isnt spelled natinals?

          ::head explodes::

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Have the Yankees ever misspelled “New York” on the road uni? I can’t remember any occasion of this…

  • Stephen

    I think, recently at least, it’s the lack of power pitchers. The Angels have very contact oriented teams and it seems that they’ve gotten lucky often against the Yankees.

  • A.D.

    Instead the Yanks will face Anthony Ortiz, a 23-year-old prospect who got roughed up in his Major League debut, and Matt Palmer, a 30-year-old journeyman who got roughed up in 12 innings for the Giants last year.

    This is a classic recipe for the offense to be shut down.

    • steve (different one)

      they just smoked Porcello. we’ll see.

    • Darth Stein

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. Crappy pitcher the Yankees have not seen before tends to lead to the offense turning him into Koufax. At least they are both right handed. If they were lefties we would be screwed for sure.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        That was my thinking, too.

        BTW, is Billy Traber still in the Red Sox organization? If I were them I would start him next week to get at least one win in the series.

      • Klemy

        Yeah. This always frustrated the hell out of me.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Fast(er) team + aggressive baserunning + good bullpen + sub-par Yankees Defense = ownership.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Agreed.

    • A.D.

      Basically they look to put pressure on a team’s defense, the Yankees have been pretty bad defensively so it’s going to work even better against the Yanks.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        That, and the Angels hitters have been pretty damn good.

        Garrett Anderson, Vlad, Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds (back during the title years)… these guys aren’t all David Eckstienian slap hitters.

        • jsbrendog

          ol gritty mcgritster darrin erstad before his career was derailed because he was too gritty and got all injured too much. and MO VAUGHN!! haha

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Tim Salmon was so much better than I remember him being.

          • Klemy

            That’s because he only seemed to play when they played us. That guy was hurt the other hundred and fifty games or so.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Fun Fact: in Salmon’s 14 year career, he only OPS+’ed lower than 119 three seasons (his rookie year of 1992, his injury plagued swan song of 2004, and a slump filled 2001 where he OPS+’ed 98)…

              … but, he also had only three seasons where he played in 150 games or more.

    • AJ

      So should the Yanks go with Molina behind the plate and DH Jorge? It seems like Molina has the stronger arm, and maybe he’d be able to keep some of the speedy Angels at bay.

      They do play small ball well, but I think the Yanks have a golden opportunity here with the Angels facing some injuries and an uncertain pitching staff.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        Nah, Matsui’s hitting well, you can’t take him out of the lineup.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Agreed.

          (For now.)

  • Rick in Boston

    I had to look it up, but I remember seeing Matt Palmer in the Sally league as a reliever. He used to close for Matt Cain, etc. in Hagerstown. Organizational soldier might be a better tag than journeyman.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Joe, any chance you could post those with home/away splits?

    I notice the Yankees tend to play the Angels fairly even at home but get killed in Anaheim.

    • jsbrendog

      i rmember our annual season opening west coast 2-9 start for a few yrs back in the day

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Speaking of the “annual season opening West Coast start”, I long for the day that the Jets don’t have to go play in Oakland.

        Every fucking year, we play the Raiders in Oakland. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

  • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    “If they’re going to turn things around, this is the a chance right here.”

    Sorry to nit-pick, I just don’t want to give the ledge-jumpers any ammunition if, unfortunately, the Yankees don’t win 3 or 4 of these games.

    Now let’s go out and win 3 or 4 of these games, Yanks.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Fair enough. There will certainly be other opportunities…one of them being the two games against the Sox next week. Win them and the sting of last weekend wears down considerably.

  • JohnnyC

    They don’t see a lot of pitches so the Yankees’ pitching philosophy doesn’t function well. They’ll put the first strike into play…and if it’s a “get over” breaking ball that’s not breaking, they’ll launch it. Pitch-to-contact types are their bread and sinker-slider types are their butter. Their aggressive base-running victimizes the Yankees’ overall lack of range and outfield arms. Their bullpen has been bullet-proof for the most part. And…Sciosia out-managed Torre, period. It’s not that much of a mystery. We have been the perfect foil for them. Note that, despite being very good throughout Sciosia’s tenure, they only won it all once…and they beat us on the way.

    • Whozat

      What Yankee pitching philosophy are you talking about? Throw strikes early in the count?

      I think a big part of the problem is that the starters have been really bad at holding runners for the last few years. Wang sucks at it, moose was a problem because he threw pretty slow the last few seasons, Clemens was bad at it, and young pitchers aren’t that good at it most of the time either.

  • steve (different one)

    Garett Anderson.

  • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    Isn’t his name Ortega, not Ortiz?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Yes. I did that yesterday, too. I don’t know why I keep doing that.

      • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

        Heh. I keep thinking his name is Orteaga for some reason…

      • steve (different one)

        John Kerry?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Are the Boston Patriots playing Green Bay this season? I’l love to see rookie QB Matt Sanchez throw the old hogskin around Lambert Field…

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com SamIAmSports

    Is that ervin E.R.A including the whipping he layed on us in that playoff game?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      What playoff game? We haven’t faced the Angels in the playoffs since 2005.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

    Because the Angels are the only team to have a better record than the Yankees the past few years.

    • JohnnyC

      You’re kidding, right? During Sciosia’s tenure (2000-2008), the Angels have won 803 games. The Yankees have won 862.

      • jsbrendog

        i would guess he was saying that last yr the angels won 100 games, we won less.

        in 2007 and 2005 we both had the same win totals

        in 2006 i think we won 4 or 5 more games. so basically, in thepast 4 yrs they have only won more than us once and less than us once. so he is basing it on the past “few” yrs but was colored by last yr and how they always seem to beat the yankees.

        argument’s sake:

        2004 we own 11 mroe games
        2003 we won 24 more i believe.

        so it depends on your definition of “few”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          It depends on what your definition of “is” is.

      • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

        My mistake, I coulda sworn I seen a graphic that that said other wise.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          I think it might have been, as I said in the article, that they’re the only team with a winning record against the Yanks.

  • pat

    I truly feel bad about the circumstances the Angels have found themselves in, but at the same time the Yankees really need to capitalize on this situation. I will be pretty disappointed if we don’t win three of these next four games. If we can steal a few games from a depleted and downtrodden Angels team that would give us some nice momentum preceding the bosox series.

  • Rob in CT

    The defense has been the difference, I think. That and Garrett Anderson.

    I’ll feel bad about it (because of the whole Nick Adenhart thing), but I hope the Yankees beat the snot out of the Angels in this series.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Okay.

    Rebecca and I have had an ex-parte conversation, and we agree that the most likely scenario for tonight, since she has a paper to write and is attempting to watch a quick and efficient Yankee game in under 3 hours so she can get back to finishing the paper…

    … is that tonight’s game will go 17 innings long, feature Jose Veras throwing 6 shutout innings, and end on a Brett Gardner grand slam (Gardner having replaced Damon sometime in the 11th or 12th inning.)

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      If this happens exactly as you say it, I’ll write a dedication page for the paper I’m writing now to you and Rebecca.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        That’s it?

        Man, and I was already to go with R-rated pictures…

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          I have very little to offer, Rebecca. I go to UConn, remember?

          • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

            Man you still aren’t over that loss, are you?

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              Haha, I’m leaving in a week and three days so I guess I’m taking my final shots.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Oh and: I’m a good writer. It would be very flattering for the two of you.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Make sure to mention in there how much more sexy and attractive to women I am than Joe, Mike, and Ben.

            And don’t forget to include something about how Rebecca’s juggs are phenomenal (albeit not as good as ARod’s.)

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              Duly noted.

              • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

                Also mention how you quit on your team in the RAB bracket challenge, punk.

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  Well, this paper is about The Canterbury Tales so I could write the dedication page as The River Ave. Blues Tales and one could be “Pop’s Tale,” a soul-crushing story of defeat at the hands and mind of a much greater man.

                • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

                  Ietc.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      Can I have some of what you and Rebecca are smoking?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        YOU AIN’T PUT IN ON THIS, MAN!!!!!!

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Puff, puff, give! Puff, puff, give! You fuckin’ up the rotation!

          • handtius

            puff puff pass

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              Exactly. Our literary friend Matt is apparently not down with the alliteration.

              Also, it’s “You fuckin’ up the cypher.”

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                1. Alliteration is my favorite literary device.
                2. I was quoting from “Friday.”

  • Drew

    Luckily Garret Anderson is no longer an Angel..

  • Nady Nation

    “Why do the Angels kill the Yankees?”

    Two words: Bitch Tits. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

    • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

      Heh.

      Small ball, the right way to play the game.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        ICWUDT

    • LiveFromNewYork

      It didn’t take long for me to grow completely tired of this expression.

      • Nady Nation

        Sucks for you. It’s a goodie.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          BEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-
          OOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Klemy

    This series starts them on to our May schedule, which is a nice block of home games to get on track. If they can use that, it’s a great time for ARod’s return and a month where some players can get on track. All those away games in April pay off a little now.

    • jsbrendog

      seriously, if ppl start booing teixeira i might flip out

  • Brian

    The Angels play small ball and manufacture runs, while the Yankees have a “big inning” offense.

    Small ball is more consistent. If Pitching is relatively equal, small ball will always come out ahead.

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