Series Preview: Yankees vs. Angels

Yankee Stadium - Opening Week 2010

After starting the season with back to back tough road matchups against AL East foes, the New York Yankees (4-2) are set to open the 2010 baseball season at home against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2-5) on Tuesday. The Stadium will be pulling out all the stops, as the World Series rings will presented alongside typical Opening Day festivities.  You can check out the press release here.  Former Yankee greats Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra will be presenting the rings to the 2009 World Series Champs.  Bernie Williams will throw out the honorary first pitch.

The last time the Angels were in the Bronx should bring back good memories to Yankee fans.  On October 26th, the New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by a score of 5-2 to win the AL Pennant.  I still remember those games as if they happened yesterday, and still have my rain soaked ticket from Game 2.

Things are much different this time around, though, as both teams shook up their rosters this offseason.  The Angels come to the Bronx without John Lackey, Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero this time around, but have added former Yankee and World Series MVP Hideki Matsui.  It’s very fitting that Hideki will be at the ballpark for the ring ceremony and I’m glad it will happen that way; Godzilla was an integral part to that team.  You can find the complete recap of the Angels offseason here.

The Angels have not gotten off to a very good start this season, having lost their first two series at home to the Twins and Athletics by a margin of 24-44.  Their starting pitching has been shaky in the first go around, except for their number one Jered Weaver.  Fortunately for the Angels, Yankee killer Scott Kazmir is slated to make his first start of the season on Wednesday.  Kazmir has a 2.67 ERA in roughly 88IP against the Yankees for his career.

Probable Starters

LHP Andy Pettitte (0-0, 1.50) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.00)
RHP Javier Vazquez (0-1, 12.71) vs. RHP Joel Pineiro (0-1, 4.50)
RHP Phil Hughes (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (0-0, 0.00)

Notes:

  • Andy Pettitte will be pitching in his fourth career home opener.  He has a 3-0 record in his previous three starts.
  • Ervin Santana looks to bounce back after a rough first outing against the Twins in which he served up two dingers.  He has a career 5-2 record with a 5.21 ERA against the Yankees.
  • Javy Vazquez, along with every other Yankee fan in the world, hopes that he fares better in the Bronx than he did in Tampa this past week.
  • Phil Hughes is making his much anticipated first start of the season after starting the season in extended spring training.  He last started a game on May 31st of last year.

Yankees Keys to the Series

  • No free passes.  The Angels will run wild on the bases if given the chance.  The Yankees need to limit as many base runners as possible.
  • Javy Vazquez’s command.  If he keeps the ball up in the zone like he did in Tampa, it’s going to be a loooooong game.
  • Mark Teixeira‘s bat.  The Yankee first baseman is notorious for his slow starts.  The team isn’t entirely dependent upon him, but they’re gonna need him to get going soon.

Expected Outcome

If I were a betting man I’d say the Yankees take two of three from the Angels.  The Yankees are coming off a very good road trip and the Angels did exactly the opposite.  If it were anyone but the Angels in this situation I’d think about the sweep, but the Angels just always seem to play us tough.

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The festivities will start at 12:15PM tomorrow, so hopefully everyone can catch some of the ceremony despite work/school.

I’ll be watching the game and making various comments on twitter.  You can follow me if you’d like.

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