1. A Haren may be out of place: On Saturday night, Dan Haren is scheduled to take the mound for the Halos. However, there is a question as to if he will even make that start. The former A’s pitcher suffered discomfort in his lower back in a bullpen session on Wednesday. He has never missed a start in his career. This would cripple Los Angeles because out of their scheduled starters this weekend, Haren has the best success against the Yankees. In his career, he is 4-1 in 8 starts against the Bombers with a 3.68 ERA and 46 strikeouts. I expect Haren to pitch in this game, but any discomfort and New York’s bats should be able to get some runs to help Sabathia. In that game, look for Derek Jeter to have success since he has seven hits against him in 22 lifetime at-bats.
2. Mark It Down for Trumbo: The Angels are desperately looking for some power to plug in their lineup since they no longer have Kendrys Morales. Now, they may have found that answer at first base with 25-year-old Mark Trumbo. The young first baseman leads the team with ten homers and is right behind veteran Torii Hunter in RBI’s with 28. Ever since making changes to his swing, Trumbo has been red hot. In his last three games, he is 6-12 with two homers and four RBI’s. He made his debut September 11th of last year, so the Yankees have never seen him before. Joe Girardi’s binder may need to add another page for this kid, as well as young outfielder Peter Bourjos and catcher Hank Conger.
3. Where’s Walden: When Brian Fuentes left the Angels at the trade deadline in 2010, the team was in desperate need for a closer. Who knew that Jordan Walden would be their answer? Ever since filling in for the inconsistent Fernando Rodney, Walden has flourished in the closer role for Mike Scoscia. He has twelve saves in fifteen chances and has 26 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. Los Angeles is an organization that does not spend a lot of money in free agency, but uses their farm system to add to their youth and small ball mentality. Walden is one of those players who was drafted in the 12th round back in 2006 and now he is fifth in the entire American League in saves. Keep an eye on Walden’s two main pitches, which are his fastball and his slider. His fastball ranges from 94-97 mph and his slider in the mid eighties, but he needs to work on his control.
The Bombers come into this series on a four game winning streak. I do think the winning streak will end in Los Angeles, but I think they will win the series. The bats are clicking at the right time and just like Oakland, the Angels do not bring a potent offense to the table. They are tenth in the league in batting average (.257), but they struggle to put runs on the board (18th with 226). New York has the edge on Saturday and Sunday, but right now, no Yankee fan can have confidence in Ivan Nova. Nova struggled in his last start against Seattle with his control and he still struggles to handle lineups the second time around the order. I give the edge to Jered Weaver because he has been very good this season, especially in his last start where he threw nine shutout innings against the Twins, but got a no-decision. That being said, New York will finish the road trip 6-3 heading back home to play the Red Sox.
YANKEES WIN 2 OF 3!!!