The Angels made their only scheduled trip of 2009 to the Bronx back at the end of April, starting a four game series on a Thursday. The Yanks took the first two, including one of their 13 walk off wins during the Friday night game, before the Halos took the Saturday contest behind journeyman starter Matt Palmer on Kentucky Derby Day. Sunday's series finale was rained out, leaving us with today's make up.
That weekend in early May however was not the last time these two teams met. The Yankees traveled to Anaheim for a three game weekend series just before the All-Star break and completely mailed it in, getting swept despite leading each game at some point. Fortunately, that series marks the last thing remotely resembling a speed bump this season, as the Yanks have gone 41-14 (.745) since.
Joba Chamberlain will oppose Jered Weaver in today's game. Joba has faced the Angels once, on July 10th this year, allowing 10 baserunners, 5 runs, 4 earned, in 4.1 innings. This will be his fourth intentionally truncated start; with any luck he'll be able to get through four innings today and be able to do it something resembling a reasonable pitch count. After a rough first inning his start last Wednesday, Chamberlain had an effective last two plus innings, retiring the final eight batters he faced. He'll look to build on that tonight.
Weaver has faced the Yankees twice this year and is 1-0 with 1.08 WHIP despite a 5.25 ERA over 12 innings of work. For his career, he's 4-1 in six starts against the Yanks but carries a 5.82 ERA against them. For the season Weaver is 15-5, leading his club in starts, innings, wins and strikeouts, and is second amongst Angel starters in ERA. He and John Lackey are the only Halo rotation members with an ERA lower than league average. He's been outstanding over his last three starts: 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 17:3 K:BB over 19.1 IP.
The Yankee bench will be a little more crowded tonight, as the Yankees did what I thought they wouldn't do, and recalled outfielder Freddy Guzman. Peter Abraham speculates that the Yanks are giving him a look as a potential post-season pinch running option. Not only do I think that's a bad idea, I don't even know if it's possible since Guzman was not added to the 40 man roster until today. To make room for him, Anthony Claggett was designated for assignment, becoming the third young, if unspectacular, pitcher the Yanks have DFA'd this year in order to make room for inferior talent. I imagine the Pirates will scoop him up just as they did to Steven Jackson and Eric Hacker. Scranton's already decimated roster is down two more bodies, but they will have Ian Kennedy available to start Game 2 of the IL Finals on Wednesday.
After today's little day trip, the Angels travel to Boston for three then on to Texas for three more. All of that is good news for the Yanks, as they're guaranteed to reduce their various magic numbers by at least one for all six of those days, whether it be to clinch a playoff spot, to clinch the AL East, or to clinch homefield throughout the playoffs. Counting tonight, the Yanks have four more games against the Angels this year. Given their troubles at The Big A over the last several years, it would be awfully nice if the Yanks can beat up on the Halos and ensure they have homefield throughout the post-season.
Bonus version with Jimi Hendrix
Tried to please her, she only played one night stands
Tried to please her, she only played one night stands, now
She was a day tripper, Sunday driver, yeah!
It took me so long to find out, and I found out