Third baseman Troy Glaus could miss the rest of the season now that he needs
shoulder surgery. With Glaus gone, Garrett Anderson still on the DL and
Tim Salmon not progressing, the only bopper left to protect big Vlad is Jose Guillen. Guillen's a nice hitter and all, but he's not really anything
special (though you wouldn't know it from his series against the Yanks.)
Glaus was leading the AL in home runs with 11, looks like his total will stay
there for a good while.
After losing two of three to the Yanks, the Angels rebounded with a series
victory over the Orioles. They were shut out by a suddenly-ace-looking
Sidney Ponson on Sunday though, and both teams scored 17 runs in the
series. The Angels are still scoring in bunches, thanks to the unlikely
contributions from guys like Chone (pronounced "Shawn" amazingly
enough) Figgins - hitting .330 with 12 RBI and nine steals -and rookie Casey Kotchman - hitting .348 and playing slick defense at first. With all the
bruises, the Angels have to give out at some point, but it doesn't look like
that point is soon. They could ride that bullpen - even if Troy Percival
isn't 100% - for a long, long time.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are still doing their thing. Suddenly, Bernie Williams - hitting .400 in the last week with a pair of dingers - is the big
story, so people can be distracted for a little while longer from the fact that
Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield have been awful and boring, respectively.
Another huge question is if Jorge Posada is ready. Latest word was that he
was still experiencing headaches as a result from his broken nose. But the
Yanks sent down backup catcher Dave Parrish, so Posada might have to
play. Jorgey leads the team in batting average (.302) and RBI (23).
And don't look now, but Alex Rodriguez is finally looking like a reigning
MVP. He's now hitting .290 with a team-best nine home runs, 20 RBI and a
surprising six stolen bases. Let the good times roll.
Yankees Road Record: 9-8
Last 10: 6-4
Angels Home Record: 11-5 Last
Season Series: Yankees lead, 2-1
Key Matchups: Guillen vs. Vazquez: 5/11, home run... Guerrero
vs. Lieber: 7/28, seven strike outs... B. Molina vs. Mussina: 4/10, two
doubles... Williams vs. Sele: 18/58 (.310), eight extra-base hits...
Rodriguez vs. Sele: 17/45 (.378), three home runs... Giambi vs. Lackey: 7/13,
home run... Williams vs. Lackey: 5/12, home run... Rodriguez vs. Colon: 13/35
(.371), three home runs... Posada vs. Colon: 2/15, home run.
Tuesday: Javier Vazquez (3-4, 4.10) vs. Aaron Sele (2-0, 3.62)
Vazquez has looked a little too ordinary for such an extraordinary
pitcher. He could use a good game to get himself righted. The Angels
touched him up for five homers in 7.1 innings the last time Javy was on the
Sele's looking like the guy the Angels were looking for last year, and he's
definitely justifying his rotation spot so far. He curbed his terrible
history against the Yankees in his last start, holding them to two runs in six
innings and grabbing a win.
Wednesday: Jon Lieber (2-1, 5.14) vs. John Lackey (3-4, 4.80)
Lieber's quickly becoming a fan favorite for his quick and efficient style
of pitching. He needed just 101 pitches to go eight innings and beat the
Angels in his last start. He still hasn't walked a batter in 21 innings
The pitching matchups in this series are all so mundane. Lackey's boringly
average most of the time, and he got roughed up by the Yanks in his last
start. He's only about 11 days removed from throwing a shut out against
the Devil Rays, at least.
Thursday: Mike Mussina (4-4, 5.20) vs. Bartolo Colon (4-2, 4.59)
Mussina regressed to his early season form again and, frankly, I'm getting
tired of it. 11 hits in six innings just doesn't ring "Moose"
for me. He's got a tidy three-game win streak going on, so that's
Last year, this was a matchup of aces. This year, it's aces that have been
anything but. Colon's been unremarkable since his first few starts of
2004. He gave up five runs in five innings against Baltimore in his last
go, but he hasn't lost a game since the end of April.
Predictions and Prognostications: These pitching matchups are
just so uninteresting, on paper at least. If Sele is actually good
(probably not) and Vazquez gets his act together (hopefully), that could be an
interesting duel. Same for Thursday's match. But I'm going to look
for the bullpens to play a big role in this series. Yanks still haven't
dropped a series in a while, and Bernie and ARod look like they can carry the
team right now, so I'll go for the old two of three thing.
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