The Angels took two of three from the Bronx Bombers over the weekend that continues the Halo's recent mastery over the New York Yankees. Counting the playoffs the Angels have gotten over on New York in twelve of their past eighteen meetings including seven of ten in Anaheim.
"What is it about this team? They give us trouble."
Game One - Friday Angels 4 Yankees 1
Kelvim Escobar returned to the hill for the first time this season and held the Yankees to one run on six hits over six innings. Escobar struck out two while walking none and picked up his first win of the season. During the game Escobar split the nail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. The right-hander said there is a 50-50 chance he will be ready to pitch on Friday against the Texas Ranges. If he can't go, Hector Carrasco will be ready to make a spot-start.
The Yankees sent out Shawn Chacon Friday who seemed to revitalize his career with New York last season going 7-3 with a 2.25 ERA. But Chacon could only go 4.2 innings against LAAofA surrendering four runs on eight hits including a two-run dinger in the first from Orlando Cabrera.
On the bright side for New York their bullpen (Villone 1.1 IP, Sturtz .2 IP, Myers 1.1 IP) came in and did not give up a hit for the next five innings.
WP: Escobar (1-0)
LP: Chacon (0-1)
S: Rodriguez (2)
Game Two - Saturday Angels 3 Yankees 2
In what looked like a colossal pitching mismatch, the Yankees sent ace Randy Johnson to the hill against the Angels number five starter Ervin Santana. But Angel pitching sandwiched 7 scoreless innings between solo home runs in the first (Jeter off Santana) and the ninth (Matsui off Rodriguez) to notch the second victory in as many nights for the Halos over the Yanks.
Both Santana and Johnson were touched for runs in the first. Jeter's solo shot for New York and a manufactured run for LA that came on a Vladimir Guerrero single after Cabrera had singled and stolen second. But that would be all the scoring for the next three innings as both starters settled into their respective grooves. But with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth Adam Kennedy came through with a clutch double down the right field line that put the Angels up 3-1. In the top of the sixth Santana got himself into a jam himself when Jeter reached on an error, Sheffield singled and A-Rod then hit a ball off the back of Santana's knee. The young pitcher recovered quickly enough to scramble for the ball and throw Rodriguez out but he then faced a second-and-third situation with one out. The next batter was Giambi-Juice who engaged Santana in a 12-pitch battle royale that culminated in a walk. The final pitch frustrated the Halo's starter who said "the last pitch I threw to Giambi was the best pitch I threw all game." Unfortunately home plate umpire Joe West disagreed and the Yankee slugger walked loading the bases. In a prudent move, Scioscia removed his frustrated pitcher and in came reliever JC Romero, despite my desperate pleas to the TV. "Don't you read my blog Mike? For goodness sake the Bombers own Romero!" Matsui stood in and hit a broken bat bloop that looked like it was going to be a 2-run Texas-Leaguer. But Cabrera raced out to shallow center and tracked down the fly ball for the final out of the inning and erased the New York threat. Scot Shields pitched a perfect eighth setting up K-Rod for save duty in the ninth. But Hideki Matsui crushed a pitch to tighten the score to 3-2 before Rodriguez settled down and earned his third save of the season and 21st straight dating back to last season that breaks former Angel Troy Percival's club record for consecutive saves. Despite a 6.00 ERA the LA Times reports that Rodriguez is "thrilled" with his 2006 start. In addition to his three saves, Rodriguez has not issued a walk. "I would rather give up a home run than a walk" said the Angels' closer. That makes one of you that thinks that way Frankie. So long as the offense and rest of the pitching staff deliver you two-run advantages then giving up a solo HR is no big deal. But that is not going to be the case for much of the year so K-Rod better start striking out more and giving up taters less.
WP: Santana (1-0)
LP: Johnson (0-1)
S: Rodriguez (3)
The Bronx Bombers vented their frustration of losing two straight close ball games by crushing the Halos 10-1 on Sunday. After seeing their ace get beaten on Saturday the Yankees returned the favor on Sunday, tagging Bartolo Colon for 8 runs on 7 hits in just 2 innings of work. Mike Mussina picked up his first win of the season, holding the Angels to just one run on five hits over six innings. Once again Esteban Yan looked shaky as well, giving up two runs in 3.2 innings to keep his inflated ERA at 9.64. Meanwhile Colon, who receive a no-decision in his first start against Seattle, now has an 0-1 record with a monstrous 12.86 ERA.
Among the low-lights were Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad each going 0-4 and Jorge Posada going 3-for-4 with an HR and double (both off Colon). A-Rod also hit one out which immediately led to the 'highlights' of last year's game where Rodriguez went 4-for-4 against the Angels including three consecutive HR's off Colon. You would think Colon would just plunk Rodriguez right away to set a tone but he keeps serving up gopher balls to him. How can Santana pitch so well against New York and Colon manage to be so pitiful? One of the great mysteries of baseball I guess but come October Scioscia should try and figure out a way to keep Colon from pitching to these guys.