The last time the Los Angeles Angels faced the New York Yankees in a full series, the two were nearly tied and jockeying for position in the American League Wild Card race. Times have changed, as the two teams have gone in opposite directions as they prepare to meet again in Anaheim.
The Angels have tapered off due to a combination of injuries and poor pitching. They are 24-26 since June 30, when the Angels and Yankees finished their last series. The Yankees, meanwhile, made some pivotal deadline acquisitions and are 35-15 since June 30, including a 13-game win streak.
They now have sole possession of the first Wild Card spot, sitting two games ahead of the Boston Red Sox and 4.5 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics. While this series won’t have the same juice as their last, it should still be a quality set as the Angels continue developing towards the future.
The Yankees lost two straight to the Athletics in their last two games. However, they were on a blistering 13-game win streak prior, including sweeps of the Red Sox and Atlanta Braves.
The Yankees are a unique team in that their statistics do not match how fans view the team. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo, and others make up one of the most formidable lineups in all of baseball. However, they rank just 20th in batting average, 14th in OPS, and 19th in runs.
Rizzo and Gallo were not introduced to the lineup until after the trade deadline, but the team should have had more than enough fire power to avoid these middling numbers.
Statistically, the strength of the Yankees is pitching. Led by ace Gerrit Cole and closer Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees rank fourth in ERA, third in WHIP, and fourth in opponent batting average. The Angels will have to see Cole during their set in Anaheim.
The Halos escaped their series with the San Diego Padres with a two-game split. After being shut out in a complete-game performance by Joe Musgrove, putting together a 10-2 win was not only impressive, but much-needed.
As the Angels struggle to piece together pitching options on a nightly basis, they’ll have just two starting pitchers prepared for this three-game set. As we near first pitch on Monday, the Angels have not announced a starter for the opener.
Shohei Ohtani will be on the mound on Tuesday with the goal of going longer than five innings. He has done an excellent job giving the Halos length this season, and they’ll need it desperately against a talented Yankees team with minimal bullpen choices.
Wins are not the ultimate marker for the Angels anymore this season. However, wins are always a positive thing, and they almost certainly bolster the development of their young players. Series wins against teams like the Yankees could go a long way towards being ready for next season.
Angels (64-67) vs. Yankees (76-54)
Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California
Probable Pitching Matchups: