Both teams are coming off three-game sweeps in the Division Series. For the New York Yankees, they put a stop to the miracle that was the Minnesota Twins. After coming all the way back to tie the Tigers for the Central Division, they came back one more time in a one-game play-in at home to complete Detroit’s collapse.
The Los Angeles Angels sent a reeling Boston Red Sox squad home for the winter and now prepare to face a team that they have handled in the postseason of late. The two best teams in the junior circuit will now face each other in the American League Championship Series for the right of playing for a World Series trophy.
During the regular season, the teams split the 10 games. The Yankees were 3-1 at home but won only two of six on the left coast. Offensively, the Angles were the better team in face-to-face match-ups, out hitting New York .315 to .272, a .473 slugging percentage to .456 and outscoring the Bronx Bombers 61-55.
What does that all mean a few days away from the opener? Absolutely nothing but it its food for thought. Perhaps a stat that will weigh more on the Yankees’ minds will be 2002 and 2005 ALDS when the Angels ousted them.
YANKEES – Mark Teixiera (.292, 39, 122)
ANGELS – Kendry Morales (.306, 34, 108)
Advantage: Yankees – Both had quality seasons but Tex is a legitimate MVP candidate.
YANKEES – Robinson Cano (.320, 25, 85)
ANGELS – Howard Kendrick (.291, 10, 61)
Advantage: Yankees – Robby can flat out hit.
YANKEES – Derek Jeter (.334, 18, 66)
ANGELS – Erick Aybar (.312, 5. 58)
Advantage: Yankees – Do we really need to explain this any further?
YANKEES – Alex Rodriguez (.286, 30, 100)
ANGELS – Chone Figgins (.298, 5, 54)
Advantage: Yankees – A-Rod may have had a rough start to the season but settled in nicely. A sub-par season for him is much better than Figgins could muster.
YANKEES – Johnny Damon (.282, 24, 82)
ANGELS – Juan Rivera (.287, 25, 88)
Advantage: Yankees – Both are good players at this stage of their careers, but Damon has more postseason experience.
YANKEES – Melky Cabrera (.274, 13, 68)
ANGELS – Torii Hunter (.299, 22, 90)
Advantage: Angels – Hunter can go and get it in the outfield and can hit, too.
YANKEES – Nick Swisher (.249, 29, 82)
ANGELS – Bobby Abreau (.293, 15, 103)
Advantage: Angels – Not by much, but the former Yankee is a clutch hitter.
YANKEES – Hideki Matsui (.274, 28, 90)
ANGELS – Vladimir Guerrero (.295, 15, 50)
Advantage: Angels – Both are in the later years of productive careers, but Vlad is scarier at the dish.
YANKEES – Jorge Posada (.285, 22, 81)
ANGELS – Mike Napoli (.272, 20, 56)
Advantage: Yankees – Posada has been there, done that.
YANKEES – CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37), A.J. Burnett (13-9, 4.04), Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16), Joba Chamberlain (9-6, 4.75)
ANGELS – John Lackey (11-8, 3.83), Ervin Santana (8-8, 5.03), Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60), Jared Weaver (16-8, 3.75)
Advantage: Yankees – The top of their rotation is stacked. A wild card in this could be Scott Kazmir for the Angels.
YANKEES – Mariano Rivera (3-3, 1.76, 44 saves)
ANGELS – Brian Fuentes (1-5, 3.93, 48 saves)
Advantage: Yankees – Mo is the king.
PREDICTION: Yankees in five games. The Angels will put up a fight, but the Bombers are just too strong is so many facets of the game.