Suffering a series loss to the Red Sox, the Yankees look to get back on track as they welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the Bronx for a mid-week three game set.
The Angles are looking to out-duel the defending American League champion Texas Rangers for the AL West crown. They remain seven games back of the Yankees in the American League Wild Card race. If the Yankees slip up in this series and let the Angels close the gap, the Wild Card race will be tight and interesting down the stretch. As it may seem like an insignificant series, if the Yankees lose and let the Angels gain hope about the Wild Card, it could turn out to be very important.
The first game, scheduled for tonight (August 9th) will set the tone for the rest of the series as the Yanks send A.J. Burnett to the hill as he faces Dan Haren (12-6 2.81 ERA). Last time out, Burnett was given a 13 run lead heading into the fourth inning but he struggled as he gave up a five run fifth inning and another run in the sixth before being pulled. The Yankees need a quality start from Burnett tonight, or he can be in serious danger of losing his spot and respect from the fans (if that hasn’t happened already). On the other side, Haren has been lights out his last three starts totaling 24.2 innings 14 hits three runs and 17 strikeouts.
In the next two games, Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon will get the ball for the Yankess, as Hisanori Takahashi (3.35 ERA) and Tyler Chatwood (6-8 4.10 ERA) take the rope for the Halos. Takahashi will be making his first start this season after pitching 48 innings out of the pen. Coming off a great 10-strikeout performance against Chicago, Nova will again make his case to stay in the rotation.
For the Angels to be able to play with the Yankees, they need strong performances by Tori Hunter and Vernon Wells. The two have struggled for most of the year but show glimpses of power and efficiency. A player to watch on the Angels offense is rookie first basemen, Mark Trumbo who is hitting .261 with 22 home runs on the season.
The bats for the Yankees were held in check in Boston this past weekend after the firework show they put on in Chicago. I look for them to be silenced again tonight by Haren, but big numbers should be expected the next two games. As it would sound by those expectations, I am predicting the Yankees winning the final two games against the Angels to win two of three in this set.
NYYUniverse.com Staff Writer
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