If the last series with the Los Angeles Angles is any indication of how the Yankees three game series over the weekend with the Halos will go, Yankee fans have little to be worries about. The marquee matchup between AJ Burnett and Ervin Santana, who is coming off a complete game against the Blue Jays, will not be a pitcher’s duel as neither pitcher has had much success against the opposition during their career. Look for the Yankees to have the edge as they shelled Santana earlier in the year.
Andy Pettitte dominated the Angles, specifically former Yankee Hideki Matsui, and outdueled Santana to earn the W. Look for Andy to continue his dominance on the road and get his third win of the year as he faces off against Joel Pineiro. Pineiro is having a very good year and he beat the Yankees during the first go around. But, he was also facing Javier Vazquez who clearly was having trouble adjusting to his new environment. Vazquez has a solid start under his belt and looks a lot more comfortable on the mound. Plus being 3,000 miles away from hyper-critical Yankee fans should help to ease his nerves for his 4th start of the year.
The Yankees offense is coming in as hot as it has been all season. Look for Mark Teixeira, who still is way south of the Mendoza Line, to keep trying to dig himself out of the cellar. A good indication of how the slugger is doing is to keep track of his strikeouts. In his first 10 games he had 12 strikeouts; in the past 5 games he has struck out only twice. Look for his dismal .125 batting average to rise and certainly don’t expect Nick Johnson to be filling in for the all-star first basemen during this series.
RHP AJ Burnett (2-0, 2.37) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (2-0, 4.35)
LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 1.35) vs. Joel Pineiro (2-1, 1.77)
RHP Javier Vazquez (1-2, 8.27) vs. RHP Scott Kazmir (1-1, 7.45)
- Scott Kazmir was known as a Yankee killer during his days with Tampa Bay but he got shelled by the Bombers the last time out, giving up 6 earned runs in only 4 innings of work.
- Lefties have batted .091 against Pettitte this season, while righties have hit .271 against the veteran starter.
- This will be the second series against the Angels and the Yankees still have not faced their number one starter Jered Weaver.
- Derek Jeter has had a great deal of success against Santana, 12-27 with three homeruns, but almost none at all against Weaver, 2-17 with two RBIs, and Kazmir, 6-39 with 12 strikeouts.
Yankees Keys to the Series:
- I know I sound like a broken record, and the Yankees seem to be doing just fine without him, but Marx Teixeira needs to get it going if the Yankees are going to take two straight series from the Angels.
- Get to Pineiro quickly and force their bullpen to carry a heavy load in the second game.
- All of these games could be very close contests. Mariano Rivera will need to continue his dominance for the 156th straight season in order for the Yankees to come away with a series win.
This series could go either way but look for the Yankees to continue their winning ways, taking 2 of 3 from the Angles. The series hinges on Vazquez and Santana. If Vazquez is able to control himself and throw 6 solid innings then the Yankees will likely score enough runs off of a shaky Kazmir to earn the win. Santana, coming off a great start, will most likely ride that momentum and force the Yankees lineup to try and score enough runs to keep with the Halo’s offense, which has had a lot of success against Burnett. The matchup between Pettitte and Pineiro is a tossup, but look for Andy’s ability to perform under pressure as the difference maker in this series.