Hello, Angels. We’ve met before, haven’t we?

Why are the Angels starting Saunders in Game 2?
ALCS Preview: The Bullpen

Tomorrow night, there will be baseball. Tomorrow night, the Yankees and the Angels will take the field, and at 7:57 p.m., CC Sabathia will throw the first pitch to Chone Figgins. As Thursday dawns, though, we still wait for that first ALCS in the Bronx in five years.

When last the Yankees reached the ALCS, they played a Red Sox team that had just dispatched the Angels in three straight games. This year, the Angels returned the favor, and the Yanks play a team they have beaten in three of their last four contests instead of eight of nine. Now, all that stands between the Yanks and the Fall Classic is a well-rounded ballclub from Orange County.

To prepare for the Angels, let’s look back at how these two teams fared in games against each other. On the season, the Angels outscored the Yanks 65-55, but the two clubs split 10 contests. The Yanks won the first two and last two but didn’t do too well in the middle.

April 30, 2009: Yankees 7, Angels 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Phil Coke
LP: Justin Speier
SV: Mariano Rivera
HR: Mike Napoli, Johnny Damon
In the first match-up of the year between these two teams, A.J. Burnett faced off against Anthony Ortega, but neither starter would factor into the decision. Burnett worked his way through seven decent innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk, and the Yanks tagged the forgettable Ortega for four runs over 6.1 innings. The Yanks wrapped this one up with a big 7th against Justin Speier. With one out, Robinson Cano singled, Jorge Posada hit a ground-rule double and Nick Swisher walked. Melky singled home Cano, and Ramiro Peña, playing for an injured A-Rod, doubled in Posada and Swisher.

May 1, 2009: Yankees 10, Angels 9 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Jonathan Albaladejo
LP: Brian Fuentes
HR: Jorge Posada
Who wants some pie? Apparently, on May 1, the Yankees did. This one started out promising for the Bombers. They plated four in the first, capped off by a Jorge Posada two-run home run, but Andy Pettitte and the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. After tossing five scoreless frames, Pettitte got tagged for five in the 5th when Mark Melancon allowed three inherited runners to score. Melancon would give up one of his own, and Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez were tagged for three more runs. Up 9-4 in the 8th, the Angels’ bullpen fell apart. The Yanks scored four in the 8th to draw within one, and Brian Fuentes couldn’t get an out in the 9th. Posada won the game with an two-run single to left-center, and Angel Berroa scored the winning run.

May 2, 2009: Angels 8, Yankees 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Matt Palmer
LP: CC Sabathia
HR: Jorge Posada
This one was ugly. Against Matt Palmer, a 30-year-old making just his third career start, the Yanks mustered nothing. CC Sabathia got hit around, and the score belies how close this game was and wasn’t. After six innings, the Yanks and Angels were tied at 1. By the time the bottom 9th rolled around, the Yanks were down 8-1. Jorge Posada brought the Yanks back to within a few runs, but it was too little too late. While the Yanks and Angels were due to play a fourth game on May 3, rain pushed it back until September.

July 10, 2009: Angels 10, Yankees 6 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Jason Bulger
LP: Mark Melancon
SV: Brian Fuentes
HR: Erick Aybar, Kendry Morales, Alex Rodriguez
The Yankees entered their last series before the All Star Break hoping to make a statement. Tied for first for the first time since early June, they rolled into Anaheim on the wings of a three-game sweep in Minnesota. The first game, though, deflated the Yanks. Joba Chamberlain threw 4.1 spectacularly mediocre innings, and the Yankee pen allowed five runs in 3.2 innings of work with no help from the defense as A-Rod and Derek made costly errors. The Yanks hit around Joe Saunders for five runs in five innings, but the team couldn’t overcome bad pitching. The Yankees were out of first by the end of the game.

July 11, 2009: Angels 14, Yankees 8 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Jered Weaver
LP: Andy Pettitte
HR: Mike Napoli, Brandon Wood, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Eric Hinske (2)
The Yanks’ nightmare trip to Anaheim continued with another poor performance from its pitching staff. The Yanks grabbed an early 4-0 lead behind home runs by A-Rod and Eric Hinske, but Andy Pettitte couldn’t do anything with it. He got torched for six earned runs in 4.1 innings, and the bullpen wasn’t much better. David Robertson, Brett Tomko and Phil Coke allowed eight runs in 3.2 innings of work, and the Yanks were killed by the Angels.

July 12, 2009: Angels 5, Yankees 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: John Lackey
LP: CC Sabathia
SV: Brian Fuentes
Looking to the Big Man to nail down a W before the All Star Break and stop the Yankee bleeding, Sabathia couldn’t come through. The Yanks had an early lead — I’m sensing a theme — but the Angels plated four in the 4th and one in the 7th to secure the sweep. The Yankees left Anaheim dazed and confused. Tied for first three days before, they went into the break on a three-game losing streak and with questions swirling around their inability to win in Anaheim. How would the Yanks fare in October, many wondered.

September 14, 2009: Yankees 5, Angels 3 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Phil Hughes
LP: Jered Weaver
SV: Mariano Rivera
HR: Vladimir Guerrero, Nick Swisher
Looking to secure home field advantage in the playoffs and make a statement against the Angels, the Yanks beat Los Angeles in a one-game make-up affair. Joba Chamberlain made one of his four-inning, Spring Training-in-September starts, and his lone blemish was a Vladimir Guerrero home run. Alfredo Aceves allowed a run in the 5th, but the Yanks responded with two of their own. Up by one in the 8th, the Yanks witnessed a rare blown save by Phil Hughes. The Yanks, though, made things happen in the bottom of the inning. After a Johnny Damon flyout, Mark Teixeira hit a ground-rule double and A-Rod walked. With Darren Oliver on in relief of Weaver, a pinch-running Brett Gardner stole third and scored on an error. Cano would add an insurance run later in the inning as the Yanks out-Angeled the Angels.

September 21, 2009: Angels 5, Yankees 2 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Joe Saunders
LP: Andy Pettitte
SV: Brian Fuentes
HR: Kendry Morales, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui
Another game in Anaheim, another Yankee loss. With their drive to the AL East title on hold after a sub-par weekend in Seattle, the Yanks came to Los Angeles hoping to put their July demons behind them. Instead, they couldn’t do much of anything against Saunders. They enjoyed eight 3-0 counts, but hitters went 0 for 8 in those ABs. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte, making his return from a sore shoulder, wasn’t sharp, and the bullpen let this one get away as Brian Bruney and Jonathan Albaladejo gave up a run each. After this, the Yanks were 0-4 in Anaheim on the year and dreading an October match-up.

September 22, 2009: Yankees 6, Angels 5 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Phil Hughes
LP: Matt Palmer
SV: Mariano Rivera
HR: Chone Figgins, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada
Stop me if this sounds familiar: an early lead, a late-game Angels comeback…but this one had a different ending as sthe Yanks grabbed victory in Anaheim for the first time in 2009. In this one, Chad Gaudin started and in a potential October audition, did not do so well for himself. He lasted 4.1 innings and gave up two runs on six hits and two walks. Alfredo Aceves gave up a pair, and Phil Hughes blew another save as an error, a stolen base and a base hit brought about a tie game. In the 9th, though, Brett Gardner again stole a key base, and A-Rod hit a game-winning sac fly. The Anaheim demons were gone.

September 23, 2009: Yankees 3, Angels 2 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: A.J. Burnett
LP: Scott Kazmir
SV: Mariano Rivera
I remember this game as though it were 23 days ago. Looking for a strong outing from A.J. Burnett, the Yanks received just that. Burnett struck out 11 through 5.2 innings, and the Yanks held a slim 3-2 lead when one of the more unexpected innings in the Yankee season unfolded before us. With the pen gassed from the last two days, Ian Kennedy came on to pitch the 8th. Just a few months removed from aneurysm surgery, Kennedy was shaky. He needed 28 pitches to record three outs and had the bases loaded with two outs before retiring Erick Aybar. Mariano Rivera more or less breezed through the 9th, and the Yanks walked away with two wins in a row in Anaheim and a season split of their 10-game set against the Angels.

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Why are the Angels starting Saunders in Game 2?
ALCS Preview: The Bullpen
  • Dela G

    the angels “ownage” of the yankees will continue to stop, like it did in september. The angels in a 7 game series are a lot easier to face i think in a 7 game series because the quality of your depth has to be on display to be able to outlast the other opponent. I truly think the yankees have more depth on both sides of the ball (pitching, hitting) and a truly circular power lineup.

    The angels won’t be playing baseball after next week anyways, since the yankees won’t need more than 5 games to beat the angels

    [/optimism

    • Dela G

      wow i totally repeated myself with that 7 game series thing, ut my point still stands

    • Zack

      With all the off days, is 7 games really a test of depth anymore? Yanks are going to use only 3 starters, and only 1 game will be on short rest. Bullpen guys can be used everygame, I know they would even without the days off but they’ll just be fresher now. ARod isnt going to miss a game due to his 1 day off a week; no bench player is going to start because a player is fatigued.
      Now it’s just what starters are better and what lineup can get back in a groove after the break, and can they stay in it with the off days.

  • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    The Yanks won the first two and last two but didn’t do too well in the middle.

    I’d take that in the ALCS.

  • http://www.ominousred.com/blog/0901/090112_busey06.jpg Gary Busey’s Face

    To what extent would a rainout on Friday mess up the Yankees plans of starting CC in Games 1, 4 and 7?

    • andrew

      Probably a lot

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      To add on to that question, what happens to the playoff schedule if it rains all weekend?

    • Joe R

      Well if Fri gets washed out they’d play Sat/Sun and he would only be on 2 days rest for Game 4 so i’d imagine earliest he can pitch again is Game 5. Also possibly no Game 7. It’s ok tho, we won need game 7, 6, or 5 for that matter.

      • Joe R

        wont*

    • Zack

      If 1 is a rainout would they play on Sun, fly to LA and play Mon? If so then yes it would mess up CC’s 3 starts. It only works out that he could pitch 1(assuming its Sat) and 5(Thu).
      Would MLB push everything back a day? If so then CC could pitch 3 games.

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Would MLB push everything back a day? If so then CC could pitch 3 games.

        In 2006, the postseason had the most rainouts (3) and they basically used filled the day off with the postponed game and there was no day off in between travel. Yankees did that in Game 2 I believe against the Tigers in the ALDS that year.

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          Also, had the Phils and Rockies gone 5 games they would have gone back to Philly with no day off.

          But if they’re really calling for rain ALL weekend, what happens if they only get 1 or 0 games in between Fri and Sun?

          • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

            You probably lose out on future days off. I’m not sure if they’re allowed to do playoff doubleheaders. I don’t see why not…but I haven’t seen one I don’t think.

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      It will be postponed for Sunday (probably during the day…barring any further rain delays) and they would fly immediately to LA with no off day in between. Rain delays will basically cancel out the off days. There are a ridiculous amount this post season…but an off day between travel is always nice…especially when it means you can start CC 3 times during the series.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    Boston won it’s last series against Anaheim in the regular season too…and if 2007 taught us anything…it’s that the regular season rarely means anything at all. This should be a VERY good series…

    Hypothetical Side Question: If the Yankees and Dodgers go to the World Series…does Joe Torre get a standing ovation or are some people hurt by the book he put out?

  • Yankeefan91 Arod fan

    I Have a feeling this game is not gonna be played tomorrow its gonna be awful tommarow.

    http://www.weather.com/weather.....begDay=289

    • Upstate Nick (confidence level = 10)

      I’m no weather expert, but that’s just a 50-60% chance of showers at gametime. There could be no rain at all, and even if it is raining, would probably be no more than a light drizzle. It would take a sustained, steady rain to cancel a playoff game.

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        There’s going to be 90% precip during the day…if it’s saying only 60% at night…there’s a good chance the game will be played. If it were bad tomorrow night…I’m sure the precip would still be 90%…

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          You would think that if it were already raining the whole day (90% chance) and the forecast for the next day is similar…that the night time percentage would be at least the same unless there was a very good chance of it not raining at all at night.

          • jsbrendog

            i put no stock in any of this. in august i was supposed to go to the beach to meet some friends but we decided not to since there was 90% chance of rain at the beach from 9 am-1 pm then 100% from 1-3 and 80% from 3-5.

            it did not rain at all.

  • http://twitter.com/hopjake Jake H

    I think it’s going to be the Yankees in 6. Whlie the Angels have beat them in the past they were against Yankee teams without dominating pitchers. I think that this team is on a mission also Vlad isn’t what he once was and while there are some tough outs I see the Yankee pitching being dominate enough to win.

    Remember the Sox lineup struggled all the 2nd half scoring runs away from Fenway. That’s why they didn’t do much in Anahiem.

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

      Yankees in 5.

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      In all fairness, this is an entirely different Angels team as well. They’re the first team in history to have 11 players with at least 50 RBI and they tied the previous record of having 10 players with at least 100 hits as well as tying the record of having 9 players with at least 60 runs scored.

      Our starting pitching needs to pitch well. They looked good against the Twins…but the Twins aren’t really all that good offensively. Our pitchers are certainly capable of silencing this offense…but are they going to? is the real question.

      • Zack

        That 50 rbi thing is overrated.
        They had guys who missed big parts of the season so other guys got their RBI-opportunity.
        Gary Matthews Jr is one of those players with 50rbis and he’s going to be doing what in the playoffs for them? He just got ABs because Vlad and Hunter missed time this year.

        The hits thing is the same principle.

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

    So, anticipating a rainout, what we’re really looking at is:

    Fri- no game
    Sat- Game 1 Sabathia v Lackey @ YS3
    Sun- Game 2 Burnett v Saunders @ YS3
    Mon- Game 3 Pettitte v Weaver @ LAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Tue- Game 4 Gaudin v Kazmir @ LAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Wed- no game
    Thu- Game 5 Sabathia v Lackey @ LAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Fri- no game
    Sat- Game 6 Burnett v Saunders @ YS3
    Sun- Game 7 Pettitte v Weaver @ YS3

    Some thoughts:
    1) I’d really love for Selig to take advantage of that dead day Wednesday to push back Games 3 and 4. The travel day is more beneficial than the scheduled dead day, and they have to compete with MNF on Monday night (which is probably why the game is a scheduled 4pm start) while there’s NOTHING to compete with on Tuesday and Wednesday. A Tue-Wed-Thu Game 3-4-5 of the ALCS would be a nice ratings coup, I bet.
    2) Looks like we’re not sweeping. Gaudin v. Kazmir has loss written all over it, even for the most optimistic fan in me.
    3) We won’t need it, but I LOVE the Pettitte v Weaver matchup in Game 7. We’d demolish Weaver in YS3.

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

      Oh, and:
      4) While we have to start Gaudin in Game 4, the benefit is Sabathia starts Game 5 on normal rest, and Burnett/Pettitte get an extra day of rest; that definitely helps all three and gives us a big upper hand in Games 5, 6, and 7 (not that we’ll need them.)
      5) No matter how it shakes out, we still line up perfectly for the same Sabathia-Burnett-Pettitte troika starting Games 1-2-3 of the WS too.

      • http://ibleedblueandwhite.com Jamie

        Also – as you pointed out in your previous comment – we get Weaver in YS3. Game 7.

        That bears repeating.

        A Weaver. Pitching in YS3. Game 7. With a trip to the WS on the line. . .

        Let’s not all freak out. Ok?!?

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          Let’s just hope it’s a Weaver Curse on a Weaver and not a Weaver Curse on the Yankees lol

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          What is this “Game 7″ of which you speak?

  • Tom

    “Meanwhile, Andy Petitte*, making his return from a sore shoulder, wasn’t sharp, and the bullpen let this one get away as Brian Bruney and Jonathan Albaladejo gave up a run each.”

    * Kabak’s spelling error, not mine.

    Anyone else worried about that shoulder starting to act up? He isn’t as young as used to be.

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

      I’m definitely concerned. I didn’t like that it took Pettitte a full 81 pitches to squeak through 6.1 innings of 1 run ball in Game 3. That start had shoulder issues written all over it.

      • Zack

        Sarcasm right?

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I was worried about Andy Petitte. But, I have no worries at all with Andy Pettitte. The extra “t” is for cluTch.

      /typical ESPN sign to get on tv’d

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

        Kruk said last night that the team best able to handle late innings was the Phillies, because their pen has blown so many leads that the offense is “used to” having to come back from behind after being up.

        Not the Yankees, with the best bullpen in the playoffs and the best late inning offense in baseball… the Phillies. Because they’re used to blowing leads late and having to mount desperation comebacks.

        :: facepalm ::

        • Mike Pop

          That’s like saying I’d rather have a great bullpen than a good starting rotation. As long as the offense has more opportunities to come back!

        • RCK

          He said that for real. That’s not a parody? Are you sure?

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

            I shit you not.

          • jsbrendog

            you dno’t watch baseball tonight often do you?

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

              Not really, I tend to avoid it. I know he says dumb shit all the time, sometimes it’s just funny to share the dumb shit he says because it’s so dumb.

            • RCK

              No, I guess I don’t.

              Still, I know the level of analysis tends to be fairly poor, but this is a whole other level. I mean, having a terrible pen that routinely blows leads is a strength?! Then how were the Nationals not first in their division? Or how about the Royals? Maybe Zack Greinke would like to explain about how great it is to have a team used to having to come back from behind.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          With that thinking, I should be great at stealing chicks from Brad Pitt and George Clooney. I know rejection, therefor, I would be able to handle the rejection and still get the lay.

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

            I know what it feels like to be broke, therefore, I am actually rich.

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              It’s actually very Zen. Maybe there’s more to Kruk than meets the eye? But, then again, maybe there’s less?

              • whozat

                Are you suggesting that John Kruk is actually hollow?

                • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                  At least his head.

                • dkidd

                  true story:

                  kruk is a rookie with the padres. they’re in chicago, taking the team bus up to wrigley. he looks out the window at lake michigan and asks “which ocean is that? the mediterranean?

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose
  • NaOH

    Tomorrow night, there will be baseball.

    Weird. I thought there was a game I could watch tonight. Didn’t realize it doesn’t count as baseball.

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

      Tomorrow night, there will be Major League baseball.

      Tonight, there will be Little League baseball.

      • thurdonpaul

        hehe, ietc

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      I didn’t realize this was a Phillies or Dodgers blog. Clearly, I was talking about Yankee baseball but felt that on a Yankees blog I didn’t need to spell it out for you.

      • NaOH

        And one of the reasons I enjoy the writing here is that you folks usually refrain from making the Yankees the center of the universe and simply make the team the focus of your content.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Ok. You got me. I was just trying to cover my ass! :)

          It’s not that I wasn’t thinking about the Phillies and Dodgers; it’s just that I was more focused on the Yanks.

          • NaOH

            Fair enough. And had you said something like, “Only one more day until the Yankees finally play again,” I wouldn’t have said a word.

  • Tank Foster

    Yankees in 5. CC isn’t going to pitch 3 games anyway.

  • dkidd

    dodgers/phillies = undercard

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