The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels squared off in this weekend series out west. The Yankees took game one 4-3 in extra innings, blitzed the Angels 11-1 in the 2nd game and, in game three, pitching dominated in a 2-1 victory. The Yankees have won 9 games in a row and are firing on all cylinders.
Fun Fact: New York Yankees 3B Miguel Andujar joined Joe DiMaggio as the only players in MLB history with 14 doubles through their first 25 games in the Major Leagues.
New York Yankees 18-9 – 2nd in the AL East
Los Angeles Angels- 16-12 – 3rd in the AL West
October Baseball Preview?
The Angels and Yankees are both premier level teams filled with star power. Although early in the season, this series is a playoff-type matchup as both have rosters capable of playing deep into October. The visiting Yankees responded to this big-time matchup with a gritty victory and followed that up with a performance that saw the offense have a field day in game two. Game three resembled a close, low-scoring game often witnessed during the playoffs. The Yankees proved in this early test that they can beat you in many different ways and this bodes well for postseason baseball.
In game one, both teams showed they have the ability not only to change the game offensively but also defensively. To begin the top of the 3rd, Angels LF Kole Calhoun made a web gem, acrobatic catch to help the Angels avoid a big inning at the hands of the Yankees big bats. Then to end the 5th inning, the Bombers saw their exuberant Shortstop make a fantastic play deep to his back-hand side to help his pitcher get through the inning. In a close game where the Yankees ace did not have his best stuff and became very reliant on his off-speed pitches, it was imperative for the defense to shine. This was crucial to the eventual extra-inning win for the Yanks. The team will hope to build on this performance and pick up their level of defensive play moving forward.
The Savvy Veteran
The stage was set for an entertaining series finale between these teams that featured the game’s biggest stars, possible future Hall of Famers and an appearance on National Television. Early on, it was a pitching duel between Yankees veteran C.C. Sabathia and Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Scoring was opened by Gary Sanchez’s 7th homerun on the season, a monstrous 447-foot 2-run shot to left. Sabathia, who may one day be vying for a Hall of Fame spot, dominated this game, changing up speeds and expertly working the corners of the plate to keep the top-heavy Angels lineup unbalanced. The Angels did touch him for a run in the 6th inning with an infield single by Justin Upton followed by jam shot hit number 2,996 for Albert Pujols and a passed ball on a 58-foot changeup. The left-hander finished with a season-long 7 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 4 Ks and registered the win.
In Game 1, Ohtani made his mark blasting a 97-mph fastball off of Yankees ace Luis Severino into the right field seats showing everyone his natural power and bat speed. His ability to turn and burn cannot be understated as this shows pitchers that his plate coverage is second to none. Ohtani ended up being pinch hit for in the 7th inning with two on and two outs. Reports indicate a mild ankle sprain for the Japanese star. This should not keep him out for an extended period of time but, he will miss his Tuesday start against the Baltimore Orioles.
Sanchez finished game two of the series 2-4 with 2 2Bs, 3 runs, and an RBI. He got the scoring started early for the visitors with a 1-out 2-run double in the top of the 1st inning and currently leads all catchers with 24 RBIs. The Yankees offense has shown a tendency to be explosive and erupt for many runs in a short period of time. This 2-run double sparked a five-run inning that saw New York bat through the order. Aaron Judge quickly added onto the lead in the next inning driving in Brett Gardner with an RBI double. He and Gary Sanchez later scored lthat inning on an Aaron Hicks triple and just like that the scoreboard read 10-0 in favor of the Yankees. If the team continues to put together quality at bats like they did in game 2 of this series it will be long year for opposing pitchers. Garret Richards, who has pitched 8 solid years in this league, looked like a lost puppy facing this offense. New York ended up pounding Los Angeles 11-1 behind this quality approach.
State of the Yanks
The Tampa Bay Rays took two from the first place Boston Red Sox all while the Yankees took the brooms out in this series. They have won 9 in a row behind a red-hot lineup and timely pitching. Luis Severino, who did not have his best stuff, posted a quality start. Tanaka, who went 6 innings only giving up one run in his start, looks to be winding into form. C.C. Sabathia started the finale on national TV and shined with 7 innings of well executed pitching and lined himself up for an eventual win. Following this series, the staff looks to be getting into its groove and now the organization will hope Sonny Gray improves on his struggles to avoid them having to make a drastic move at the trade deadline.