September 9, 2011

An old adage gets put to the test

There’s an old adage in baseball that “good pitching beats good hitting.” I’ve heard that expression ever since I can remember and even though it’s not absolutely true, anyone associated with baseball has been spouting that little mantra for years.

Well that claim is going to be tested this weekend at Angels Stadium. It’s the ultimate challenge of good pitching vs. good hitting. The Yankees lead major league baseball in runs scored with 778 (as compared to the Angels who have scored 586). The Angels have the lowest ERA in the American League at 3.58.

The Angels have given up just 118 HR’s all year; second lowest in the American League. The Yankees have hit the most homeruns in MLB with 200. Curtis Grandreson has 38 and Mark Teixeira has 36. Eight Yankees have hit double digit homeruns including Robinson Cano with 25 and Nick Swisher with 22. Think about this – the four I just mentioned have combined for more homeruns(121) than the entire Angels team.

To make things even more interesting, the Angels will be sending their three best starters, who have all been exceptionally tough at home. Jered Weaver has a 1.87 ERA in 13 games at home; Dan Haren – 2.68 in 14 games and Ervin Santana – 2.96 in 16 games. Our top guns are headed to the mound for an epic show down.

Something has to give.

You can crunch numbers all day long… you can look at all kinds of splits and matchups until your calculator explodes. At the end of the day; it’s still all about the Angels pitchers against the Yankee hitters and whether or not that old adage about pitching vs. hitting holds up.

That being said – don’t be surprised if the Angels end up winning games 10-9 or something strange like that; because quite frankly, that’s baseball at its unpredictable self.

This series couldn’t have possibly lined up any better for the Angels rotation. Weaver goes on Friday; Haren on Saturday and Santana on Sunday. The Angels best against the most explosive offensive team in baseball. Baseball fans everywhere will get a chance to see how these two teams stack up in September. It’s a classic matchup in every sense of the word.

I’m anticipating a play-off like atmosphere at the stadium. These are crucial games for the Angels who are trying to run down the Texas Rangers who head into the weekend with a 2.5 game lead.

Like the Rangers, the Yankees also boast a 2.5 game lead in their division (over the Red Sox) and although their play-offs hopes are not in doubt – they’re striving to win the division and best record in the American League which would give them home field advantage; something every team covets.

The Yankees rotation will lead off with ex-Angel Bartolo Colon who is having somewhat of a resurgent season. He has a 3.72 ERA, but hasn’t won a game since July 30 and his ERA during that period of time is 5.00. On Saturday C.C. Sabathia will be vying for his 20th win of the season and figures to be the Angels toughest challenge in the three games. Of course, now that I’ve said that – the Angels will probably score 15 runs against him (let’s hope!). On Sunday the Yankees send out another reclamation project in Freddy Garcia who is also enjoying a nice comeback season with a 3.50 ERA.

Here’s the thing… we can look at these matchups all day long, but the bottom line is that these games mean a heck of a lot more to the Angels because of their position in the AL West pennant race. My hope is that Angels Stadium will be rocking with Angels fans; wearing red and being loud. Nothing disgusts me more than seeing our house full of fans from the opposing team.

Angels fans need to come to the stadium fired up and ready to rock and roll. We fans can make a difference and even though we don’t have any control over what happens on the field – we can certainly make the environment one that’s inspiring to our players. The Yankees need to know they’re in our house and Angels fans need to represent.

I’ve been thinking about this all week… Weaver, Haren and Santana. No excuses. These are big games and our best have to step up. If you can’t get excited about this – you might as well call it a day.

Angels vs. Yankees baby! Let’s do this.

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