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Head to Head
2005-10-03 09:39
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees played well down the stretch and earned their way into the playoffs. The Angels, winners of 14 of their last 16 have been even hotter. The Halos took the season series from the Bombers, 6-4. There were a couple of memorable comebacks (Vlad's grand slam, K Rod and Shields blowing saves on consectuive days) as well as Alex Rodriguez's big night in April. Here's a quick rundown of the Yankee-Angels games, via the Bronx Banter archives.

Cliff's Angels Preview

In New York

April 26: 12-4 Yankee win. Alex Rodriguez hits three home runs off of Bartolo Colon.

April 27: 5-1 Angels win. Jarod Washburn pitches a gem, Mike Mussina makes critical mistakes.

April 28: 3-1 Angels win. Yankee offense snoozes as Kevin Brown pitches a good game.

In California

Second Angels Preview

July 21: 6-5 Angels win. Vladi's grand slam off of Flash Gordon spoils a decent performance from The Big Unit.

July 22: 6-3 Angels win. In his second outing as a Yankee, Al Leiter is roughed up by the Halos.

July 23: 8-6 Angels win. Kevin Brown gets bombed.

July 24: 4-1 Yankees win. With the Angels star relievers resting, Mike Mussina outduels Jarod Washburn.

Back in New York

July 29: 4-1 Angels win. A decent performance from Moose is not enough.

July 30: 9-7 Yankees win. A tired K Rod folds in the ninth as the Yanks rally to win it.

July 31: 8-7 Yankees win. A similarly fatigued Shields blows a late lead.

Comments (53)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-10-03 10:38:55
1.   rbj
At least now there's no Kevin Brown to get bombed. Nor any Pavano. And Wright should at best be in the bullpen.
The Angels are playing too well. They're going to have to come back down to earth at some point. Like Tuesday. Make that Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005 A.D., 8 pm EST.
2005-10-03 10:39:34
2.   Dan M
Is there any reason for the Yankees to ever throw a pitch that even resembles a strike to Vlad? I really wouldn't mind if they walked him four times a game. And, heck, if you try to intentionally walk him, he still might swing at it.
2005-10-03 10:50:26
3.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I think the Yanks biggest focus is to keep that sombitch Figgens off the bases. Then intentionally walk Vlad. None of this pitching around a hitter whose strike zone is as indiscriminate as Vlads is.
2005-10-03 11:38:41
4.   Cliff Corcoran
For what it's worth, reading back over the first linked post, it's not really much of a preview of the team as a look at where they were when the Yankees first faced them. I did predict them to win the West, but that doesn't make my unique by any stretch.

http://griddle.baseballtoaster.com/archives/159171.html

2005-10-03 11:39:17
5.   Max
I think the Yankees have to beat themselves to lose this series, through bad defense or a relief meltdown. The Angels offense outside of Figgins and Vlad can be shut down, and their starting pitching is not lights out (nor is ours, but our offense is better).

Many of their wins came against us when we were still in transition from a pitching standpoint. We have better (or at least more composed pitchers) to throw out there now (Chacon, Small, better Randy, no Brown). The big question, of course, remains Moose.

I hope the team is burning a little from the ongoing barrage of questions about how the Angels have their number. It will allow them to maintain the same intensity they had the last three weeks.

2005-10-03 11:45:44
6.   debris
Another win for the Sox, or at least their fans.

According to the Boston Globe, the series between the Sox and Sox will be worked by Chris Berman, Rick Sutcliffe and Mike Piazza. The Yanks-Angels series will be announced by, sorry, guys, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

2005-10-03 11:55:37
7.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
They all suck. Playoff baseball is best watched, not listened to.
2005-10-03 11:58:49
8.   rbj
At least there's no Joe Morgan.
2005-10-03 12:00:39
9.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
And, unless Buck and McCarver have become ESPN announcers too, that can't be true.

The MLB site has ESPN broadcasting games 2 and 3 of the Yanks' series.

2005-10-03 12:07:23
10.   BxSparksNYC
Tuesday is on Fox - Buck and McCarver.
As far as ESPN, I'd take Morgan over whoever they have over there. Sutcliffe and etc. are all annoying at best when they never seem to have the correct information. (Even NESN spews better info than ESPN. And at least Morgan plays it fair. Can't say the same for the rest of the ESPN waste products...
2005-10-03 12:09:47
11.   Cliff Corcoran
If Torre agrees to leave Leiter off the post-season roster, can we get him in the booth for this series?
2005-10-03 12:20:01
12.   debris
Interesting idea, Cliff. I have Leiter down as my dark-horse candidate to bail the Yankees out when Mussina leaves somewhere between innings 2-4.

Small throws strikes; Leiter doesn't. The Angels swing at everything. Leiter might be their best bet to neutralize LA/A/C/Diz.

2005-10-03 12:42:38
13.   Clay Caviness
Having listened to a few Berman/Sutcliffe broadcasts, I don't think that "win" is as clean-cut as it seems...
2005-10-03 12:56:27
14.   Dan M
As annoying as Buck and McCarver are, at least their credible baseball announcers. Sutcliffe is arguably the stupidest and most backwards commentator I've heard in years. If you're the least bit saber-oriented, he's a nightmare. For example, he overrates things like speed, heart and character, and undervalues OBP. And Berman is all schtick and no substance. He might be great on NFL Gameday, but is terrible in the booth.
2005-10-03 13:19:59
15.   Shaun P
We've had to endure horrid playoff announcing for what, 10 seasons now? '96 is when Fox started broadcasting baseball, right?

Haven't the World Series ratings gone down over that time period?

You'd think FOX and MLB would start to see a connection . . . imagine if, say, Vin Scully and (insert good analyst here, I'll pick Larry Dierker) were calling the games. I think more people would be inclined to watch.

I'm with Yankee fan in Chicago - I usually mute the TV and listen to the radio.

2005-10-03 13:38:03
16.   jdsarduy
what will be the key things the Yanks need to do to beat LAA?

I think Pitch around Vlad would be one of those things
How about more pitch outs?

2005-10-03 13:38:41
17.   KJC
"he overrates things like speed, heart and character"

Does Sutcliffe prefer Dungeons & Dragons over baseball?

2005-10-03 13:42:45
18.   JeremyM
To me the key is Figgins. This guys turns into Rickey against us. Crisp defense will be essential, which is why Crosby has to play in center. I love Bernie but he's the DH this series. Sit Sierra and leave him there. Somebody catching fire- and we have 4 guys in Matsui, Sheffield, A-Rod, and Giambi that can do it- would be nice. And early leads will obviously be a key because their bullpen is sharp as nails. They are the anti-Yankees in their pen. I wouldn't mind seeing Bernie empty his bullets this post-season as well, I think he has a few left.
2005-10-03 13:51:45
19.   Schteeve
This is going to sound blasphemous at best and profane at worst, but I like Buck and McCarver. I just assume they are going to spew unenlightened nonsense like 90% of baseball broadcast teams, but McCarver is comforting to me. When I hear his voice over a shot of Yankee Stadium in October, I know that all is right with the world. Plus he's always good for a completely ludicrous statement or three. Like a few years ago when he said,

"In a way Mariano Rivera is coming into the game to make sure it stays 2-0......(5 seconds pass while Buck bites his tongue so hard it bleeds)....wait a minute, that's exactly why Rivera is in the game, what am I talking about?" Classic.

Brantley and Sutcliffe have no "folksy crazy old gramps charm" to fall back on like McCarver, and they suck.

Then there's Berman who once, upon hearing someone mention Bill James, said "Don't get me started, there are 3 kinds of lies, lies damn lies, and statistics."

2005-10-03 14:01:12
20.   Cliff Corcoran
Good analysis, Jeremy. Early leads are indeed key. Avoiding the Yanks middle relief and keeping Vlad from doing damage are obvious for a reason. Bubba is essential as he covers a lot of ground and has a strong arm. The Angels will take every extra base the Yankees give them. Bernie will give them a lot, perhaps enough to hand them the series (if Joe's decision to start an untested Mussina in Game One hasn't already done that). There's no room for error (literally) in a five game series.

That said, after a season of proving that he does indeed hit better when playing the field, is it worth it to risk the Angels scampering around on Giambi's arm in the hope that he'll make up for it with his bat, or should Torre DH Giambi for this round, producing this order (which I know we won't see):

Jeter
Rodriguez
Giambi
Sheffield
Matsui
Posada
Cano
Tino
Bubba

Hmmm, that's mighty left-handed at the bottom there. The good news is the Angels don't really have a big-time LOOGY. Curious to hear your opinions on this. I'm sure I'll write more about it in my preview tomorrow.

2005-10-03 14:02:57
21.   Knuckles
If Buck and McCarver both happen to walk off a tall building between now and tomorrow night, I wouldn't lose much sleep.

I'd rather listen to the carols that accompany the WPIX Yule Log program than those two buffoons.

2005-10-03 14:13:17
22.   jdsarduy
As much as a stiff as Giambi is I don't think he'll kill us at first unless the Angels start bunting a lot, so I would keep Jason at first and DH Bernie tonight. Against Colon I would sit Bernie and go with the Cliff Corcoran's line up. Since most of the Angels pitchers are right handed maybe DHing Jason would be a good idea but then you'll take Bernie out and I don't think Joe would do that to Bernie
2005-10-03 14:19:46
23.   Schteeve
You know who needs to produce a lot in this series? Matsui. I think he's going to be the bellweather of this round.
2005-10-03 14:28:15
24.   rbj
I don't think Joe's going to bench Bernie. The best to hope for is to have him DH this series, with Bubba in CF. Bernie will be back in CF when we play the Sox.
2005-10-03 14:28:20
25.   randym77
MLB.com says this about the roster:

//Fourteen position players and 10 pitchers have secured spots on the active roster for the first round of the playoffs, but Torre and his coaches must decide whether it makes sense to take an 11th pitcher or a 15th position player.

Infielders Jason Giambi, Tino Martinez, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Bellhorn; catchers Jorge Posada and John Flaherty and outfielders Gary Sheffield, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Ruben Sierra and Bubba Crosby will all be on the roster.

The 14th spot should go to Tony Womack, who is the Yankees' best stolen-base threat off the bench.

Should they decide to take an 11th pitcher, it looks as though that decision will be between left-hander Alan Embree and right-hander Jaret Wright. If Torre opts for the position player, it would likely be Matt Lawton, unless he is taken as one of the 14 instead of Womack.

The 10 pitchers on the roster are expected to be starters Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Shawn Chacon, Chien-Ming Wang and Aaron Small, and relievers Mariano Rivera, Tom Gordon, Tanyon Sturtze, Al Leiter and Scott Proctor.

Leiter and Proctor were informed by Torre before Sunday's game that they had made the playoff roster. //

Hard to believe that Wright, once part of the starting rotation, might be left at home for the playoffs.

2005-10-03 14:28:23
26.   tocho
I think we have to discuss 2 scenarios, the real one and the ideal one.

In the REAL one Joe will most certainly put Bernie in CF, the last 2 days he made some great plays, he has playoff experience, and you know, he's one of the guys he loves to hug and kiss after a series victory (even if they didn't contribute) I do not agree with this move.

Also, he is going to DH Sierra, we all know this is dumb and only kills potential rallies but that's the way Joe works.

He will also make the good move by having Giambi in 1B but since he's DH'ing Sierra that adds up as a negative (instead of upgrading defense for a bat, he downgrades defense for a very bad bat in Sierra) The only good thing about this move is that apparently Giambi hits better when he plays the field (this goes back to the days Nick Johnson and him were splitting time). I also do not think Giambi is such a bad 1B, just don't make him throw the ball.

In the IDEAL scenario, he would start Bubba in CF and DH Williams. That's 4 upgrades: 3 in the OF since Bubba covers for lack of range of Hideki and Sheffield and 1 in Bernie's bat since he only has to concentrate at batting and no downgrades since there is no viable DH outside of Williams and he gets to keep his bat.

Given how far Joe's come in line-up construction (with the current one, which I love the first 5) I think it is too much to ask for him to throw out 10 years of doing things one way just to insert Bubba in CF and put out the best possible team out there. Therefore, my guess is that we will be stuck with the Real scenario. I would be very much surprised otherwise.

2005-10-03 14:54:01
27.   yankz
Why is Ruben on the team? He can't run, field, hit, throw, sing, dance, or provide managerial insight. Maybe Cano would stop performing if Ruben didn't show up?

Bubba HAS to start, Bernie HAS to DH, and yet, Bernie's probably going to play CF.

Moose needs to show up.

2005-10-03 15:46:18
28.   Schteeve
I may be mistaken but I think the Yankees put up the best record in the AL, over the last 132 games of the season. So when people talk about Hottest team in baseball, our boys have to be taken seriously.
2005-10-03 15:53:02
29.   Schteeve
Start Bernie when the Wanger pitches. Hell start me when he pitches, it's not like those slap happy Halos are gonna hit anything in the air if he keeps his location right.
2005-10-03 15:59:52
30.   randym77
I agree - put Bernie in when Wang pitches. Sierra, too. If Wang is doing his job, nothing will get to the outfield.

Might be a good time to DH Giambi and put Tino at 1st, too.

2005-10-03 15:59:58
31.   Eric in Dallas
I think we should put Giambi ahead of A-Rod in the order tonight. A-rod has had an unusual amount of HR success against Colon. I think putting high OBP Giambi in the #2 hole allows more runs to score when A-Rod takes Colon deep in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th innings. :)
2005-10-03 16:02:46
32.   BxSparksNYC
With GG Moose on the mound tonight, definitely not adverse to putting Giambi at the bag as he obviously hits better there (why that's the case is for another day). The real point then being CF defense, and hopefully Joe will realize that the small ball the Angels play needs to negated by our best defensive lineup. That leaves DH and I think you'd have to take a look at the matchup with Bernie and Sierra. I wouldn't put Tino in as I wouldn't want to lose the DH down late in the game. Bernie would seem the choice but really this year we're really only hoping Bernie can bring back some magic with the bat (too many popups this year). I'd make sure the numbers aren't too overwhelming on Sierra's side before dropping Bernado in the DH slot. The benefit side effect might be getting Bernie a little salty for sitting and get him fired up for the rest of the playoff.
2005-10-03 16:08:47
33.   Cliff Corcoran
RandyM, you know there's no reason to ever start Sierra, even if his defense won't cost you. Now maybe starting Lawton in the OF when Wang pitches would make sense (Lawton has a good OBP history). But with Matsui and Sheff out there, there's no reason to do so, which is another strike against Lawton making the roster over Legs McWomack.
2005-10-03 16:09:36
34.   Cliff Corcoran
BTW, what's all this "tonight" stuff. You guys do know today's a travel day and the ALDS starts tomorrow, right?
2005-10-03 16:09:46
35.   BklynBomber
Too bad The Banter can't pull the strings remotely on this series, some excellent calls here already.

It's that time of year again — pitching, defense and disciplined, timely hitting — in that order, will rule the day.

If Moose does not have it and we're quickly down 4 or 5 runs, everything goes out the window. Instant pressure on the middle relief, a tense defense and guys trying to hit 5 run homers. Imperative that Moose is sharp even if we can light up Colon early.

#20, Cliff, that's the lineup. Power, D, and speed. #27, yankz — echo that on Sierra.

As much as I hate the short series, road trip, etc., I have a good feeling about this. Our boys didn't give us ulcers for six months to quit now.

Perhaps the best early indicator of a enjoyable series is the fact that we dodge Chris Berman, let alone Sutcliffe, for Game One. I'll take that anyday...

Yanks in 4!

2005-10-03 16:12:03
36.   BxSparksNYC
Sorry Cliff,
"Tonight"????
Guess I'm just too eager to get started...
2005-10-03 16:28:19
37.   randym77
I have a feeling Ruben is gonna be in there, whether we like it or not. Somebody really likes him.
2005-10-03 16:56:51
38.   tocho
"I have a good feeling about this. Our boys didn't give us ulcers for six months to quit now"

I really hope that's true. This season shortened my life expentancy by 3 years so they have to come through...

2005-10-03 17:05:49
39.   JeremyM
Guys, if Sierra is the DH at the expense of Crosby in center I might not even be able to watch the game, and he's been a cult favorite of mine for years (back to his days with Texas, the first time around). But he's a pinch-hitter at best (and I think I'd take my chances with the starting 1-9 myself over him). We'll see how much Torre has learned over the last month of the season.

Well, I should probably wait until the lineups are announced to worry, but I have little faith in Torre to do the right thing here.

2005-10-03 17:10:22
40.   JeremyM
Is it true that Wang is starting game 2? Hmm, interesting. I like Chacon but this might be a smart move.
2005-10-03 17:49:53
41.   markp
Iheard Chacon. I'd much prefer Wang, though he pitches much better at home, and he did have a poor start his last time out.

I have a hard time believing even Joe Torre can't see that Sierra is awful. I'm not a big fan of Bubba, but he's a much better option than RS, given the quantum leap in defense we get (with no loss in the offense.)

Lawton should be on the roster. He's a far better choice at DH than Sierra since he actually can make a contribution with his OBA and his speed.

2005-10-03 18:04:39
42.   randym77
The Yankees page still lists Chacon for game 2.
2005-10-03 18:26:46
43.   tocho
In NYYFans.com it is posted that Torre announced Wang as Gm 2 starter. I don't understand the move. If you lose Gm 1 then all the pressure is in a rookie who has risen to the occasion all season except for last Friday with a pressure situation walking everybody (OK the ump was terrible but so where many of Wang's pitches).

OTH, the Angels haven't seen Wang and you get Chacon on a probably more important Gm 4 at home.

I guess this move will prove good or bad depending on the result of Gm 1.

thoughts?

2005-10-03 19:21:34
44.   BklynBomber
tocho, while Wang has shown he's not easy to rattle, I think you're onto something with the rookie/huge game/pressure angle if we drop the opener. Chacon might be the better choice in that case...

Also, a game 4 will be just as huge — we'll be either trying to wrap it up or take it back to Disneyland. Wang might be more comfortable at home given the two situations...

FWIW... I don't bet but checked out Vegas odds on the post-season, a fews books I found that listed pitching matchups had Chacon vs Lackey in Game 2...

2005-10-03 19:27:39
45.   randym77
MLB.com and all the news sites are still reporting that Chacon will pitch Game 2.

Maybe Torre has decided to keep Chacon in reserve, in case of starter meltdown?

2005-10-03 19:44:16
46.   Max
I can't believe no one has mentioned that 12 of 15 ESPN analysts over at ESPN.com have picked the Angels to beat the Yankees. Only one has picked the Yankees to win the whole thing -- the trendy pick seems to be split between the Astros and the Angels, with the Cards getting a couple of WS winner picks, and the Yankees and Red Sox getting one apiece.

I love it personally.

2005-10-03 19:57:19
47.   BklynBomber
OK. I'm really losing it now.

I looked up Moose's fucking horoscope for tomorrow (and I'm not even into this stuff!), but I liked what I found:

"Resolving a few issues today will make the coming week a lot easier to deal with."

Sounds like a quality start to me ;-) ...

I need help.

2005-10-03 20:41:14
48.   KYK
Holy Crap!
Now I'm convinced that someone in the Yankees reads Bronx Banter.

From YESnetwork's website

GAME 1 LINEUP
Torre will employ the standard starting lineup used for the tail end of the season, with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Mastui batting one through five. Rookie of the Year candidate Robinson Cano will hit sixth and Jorge Posada seventh. In a mild surprise, Bernie Williams will be the DH and Bubba Crosby, whose walk-off home run to defeat Baltimore Sept. 19 was one of the biggest moments of the season, gets the call in center field.

2005-10-03 21:01:53
49.   billm
I think that is just about the best possible lineup with this team. Cano in front of Posada is an upgrade.
2005-10-03 21:41:50
50.   nick
#48--that's a great lineup against the Angels...with Wang on the hill I'd have Bernie in CF and Tino at first (outfield defense irrelevant, infield defense key), but otherwise I love that lineup!
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-10-03 22:36:58
51.   Zack
Bklyn, I think you are losing it!1 But we'll take it, any good karma is good karma. And that lineup looks mighty fine to me boys, mighty mighty fine...ESPN has Wang as game two. Since Chacon just pitched sunday, he'll need the extra rest...
2005-10-03 23:51:54
52.   Stormer Sports
Well Guys,

Here we go. I remain optimistic. I really feel that this team has pulled it together.

However, 2 comments:

1. Keeping 11 pitchers, I don't like the sound of that. It must mean ye ole Embree and Proctor. Torre said, "it's the safest way to go." I hope so, but I'm skeptical.

2. Torre said:

"Wang was a starter [for the Yankees] before Chacon," he said. "We felt that he has pitched well enough, long enough, to deserve a shot."

I understand the sentiment, and I am sure that Wang's start is a penultimate example of why players love the guy. It does seem to indicate and evidence his loyalty and connection with his players, and in contemporary Professional Sports, there certainly is something to it. This team could definitely do worse than Joe Torre. "The grass isn't always greener," comes to mind. We should all be cognisant of that. However, I still say you have to go with the hot hand, and that is Shawn Chacon, but lets discuss it, not vent anger at the Manager of the team we are rooting for, for the next few weeks, at least? It's the playoffs, lets have fun! This could really be great.

Go Yankees!

Ideas?

2005-10-04 04:49:42
53.   randym77
Sunday was Chacon's throw day, and he wasn't in that long. But I have no problems with Wang. If it was an indoor field, like Tropicana, I'd prefer Chacon.

Proctor is definitely in. Torre said so on Saturday, and on Sunday night said nothing that happened during the game changed his mind. I'm okay with that. I think he's earned it.

The last spot on the roster was supposedly going to be Embree, Wright, or Lawton. If he's going with a pitcher, I would guess it's Embree.

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