The New York Yankees expected things to be tough in Anaheim, it always is, but this time around they’ve run into a buzzsaw. Both teams entered the series on their longest win streaks of the season, but only the Angels streak is intact. Behind a strong pitching performance from Dan Haren, and some great defensive plays by Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos, the Angels defeated the Yankees and Andy Pettitte, 5-1.
This was Pettitte’s first road start of the season and one theme he’s hoping to rid from his outings is allowing home runs. He gave up two last night, one to an extremely hot Albert Pujols and the other to Mark Trumbo, who is having a fantastic season.
For the Yankees offense it was more of the same. Twice, they had arguably their best hitter at the plate in Robinson Cano with the bases loaded, and he struck out both times. The first chance was in the third inning with the score tied at zero. Russell Martin reached on an error and Derek Jeter singled. Curtis Granderson struck out and then Alex Rodriguez hit an infield single to load the bases. Cano was frozen on a fastball after getting a heavy dose of sliders in the at-bat.
In the bottom half of the inning a majority of the damage was done to Pettitte. Bourjos lead of the frame with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Trout came up and ripped a slider to left field resulting in a triple. Trout was erased at home on a fielder’s choice, but Pujols blasted his eighth homer of the season to left giving the Angels a 3-0 lead.
The Yankees tallied their only run of the game in the top of the fourth on single by Nick Swisher which drove in Raul Ibanez. They had scoring opportunities in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings and couldn’t push a run across. Cano struck out swinging with the bases loaded to end the game. As a team the Yanks were 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left a total of twelve men on base.
Pettitte, at least gave the Yankees some length in the outing, going seven innings allowing five runs on nine hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three. Haren finished with seven innings, one earned run on eight hits and also issued no free passes. He struck out seven hitters.
The loss put the Yankees’ record at 26-23 and kept them 2.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. All five teams in the AL East are over the .500 mark with the last place Red Sox only one game behind the Yanks.
- Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of Jeter’s call-up. His two hits last night gave him 3,158 for his career.
- David Robertson threw 50 tosses yesterday according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
- Brett Gardner is expected to hit off a tee today and soft toss.
- The Yankees are hitless in their last 15 at-bats with the bases loaded.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, things the Yankees cannot control, as in the performance of other teams in the AL East, are actually going their way. No one is going to say that this has been a very successful season for the Yankees thus far. So, to only be two games back in the loss column is something of a gift.
The Orioles have begun to slow down, now losers of four straight. The Rays have had their ups and downs as well. The Blue Jays are hanging around as they always do and the Red Sox have seemingly ended the clubhouse dramas long enough to begin winning. All five teams are over the .500 mark, but none of them has completely taken over the division.
I mentioned during the series in Oakland that the Angels presented the toughest challenge of the nine-game road trip and felt that the Yankees had to sweep the A’s just to hang tight in the East. They completed that task and gained some ground on the front runners. As they ventured into Anaheim and have lost two straight, the top teams in the East have also dropped their last two games keeping the Bombers in striking distance.
Tonight, the Yanks need Nova to hold down what is right now a run-scoring machine. The Yankees have had plenty of success against Santana. The roster is hitting a combined .294 against him with 24 homers and a .927 OPS, so hopefully they can put up some runs. It will be important to get a win prior to leaving for Detroit. Plane rides and off days are best after a win. The Tigers are having a surprisingly rough time this season, but the Yankees can’t expect them to roll over when they reach Comerica Park.
Should the Yanks take one tonight from the Angels and then deliver two of three from the Tigers, this would have to be considered a successful road trip (would be 6-3), one which kept them in the AL East race.
Visit the site later today for the Yankees Minor League Report and an article from Anthony Rushing on Curtis Granderson’s steadiness.
Topics: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Dan Haren, David Robertson, Derek Jeter, Ivan Nova, Mark Teixeira, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, New York Yankees, Nick Swisher, Peter Bourjos, Raul Ibanez, Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, Yankees