"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

L.A. Confidential

I’ll tell you a secret. I hate the Angels. I hate them about a hundred times more than the Red Sox, a thousand more times than the Rays. I hate the way Mike Scioscia cocks his head and squints his eyes in confusion whenever a call goes against him. I hate the scrappiness, I hate the hustle, I hate the font of the numbers on the backs of their jerseys.

After a disappointing loss on Monday night, the Yankees returned to the scene of the crime on Tuesday and looked to bounce back into the win column. The problem, though, was that the Angels were sending Dan Haren to the mound. Haren has been unhittable recently, most notably in his last start against Seattle when he authored a 3-0 shutout that featured 14 strikeouts and zero walks, only the third time in the past dozen years that pitcher done that (a shutout with 14 Ks and zero walks). Opposing Haren would be the ageless wonder, Andy Pettitte.

I touched on this yesterday, but it cannot be understated. The Angels, as nauseating as they are, are an exciting team to watch, and it all starts with their youngest player, Mike Trout. On Monday night he flexed his muscles by bashing his fifth home run of the season, but on Tuesday he showed some of his other skills, namely speed and defense. With two outs and no one on in the bottom of the second inning, Nick Swisher launched a rocket to left center, but that’s Trout territory. He ran down the drive, leaping and snaring it just as it may or may not have left the park.

And how often does it happen? A guy makes a great player in the field, and two innings later he comes to the plate with a runner on second. Trout rifled a ball past third and down the line. The speedy Peter Bourjos coasted in easily on what seemed like a certain double from Trout. But Trout is probably in Brett Gardner’s class as a runner, and slid into third with a triple — on a ball hit into the left field corner. The whole world is crushing on Bryce Harper right now, and justifiably so, but check the numbers. Trout is outplaying the kid with the faux hawk.

The Angels push the envelope at all turns, so Trout went on contact and ran into an out at home on a grounder to Eric Chávez, but Albert Pújols erased that mistake seconds later when he smashed a no-doubter into the Yankee bullpen far beyond the left field fence for a 3-0 Angels lead. Pettitte would later call it “just a stupid pitch by me.” It seems the reports of Sir Albert’s demise were, indeed, highly exaggerated.

The Yankee hitters continued to struggle, and again they continued to fail with the bases loaded. In the half inning before the Angels scored those three runs, the Yanks had had a golden opportunity when they loaded the bases with two outs and Robinson Canó at the plate. A base hit there would’ve given Pettitte a cushion, pushed Haren a bit, and opened a lead, but instead Canó watched strike three dart across the outside corner. Fifteen minutes later it was the Angels who were giving the cushion, doing the pushing, and opening the lead.

Raúl Ibáñez doubled with one out in the fourth, and Nick Swisher quickly cashed him in with a hard single to right, bringing the Yankees to within two runs and breathing a little hope into the situation.

Following Swisher’s base hit, the next fifteen Yankees and Angels to come to the plate were all retired without the ball ever leaving the infield. Pettitte and Haren combined to gather nine groundouts, four strikeouts, a popup and a line out. The sixteenth hitter, however, was the Angels Mark Trumbo. Trumbo broke the string in the bottom of the sixth with a mammoth 433-foot blast into the rocks in center field, widening the Anaheim* lead to 4-1.

The Yankees put two runners on in the seventh, then two more in the eighth, but couldn’t make anything out of either opportunity. Then, more to taunt the Yankees than anything else, the Angels manufactured another run in the bottom of the eighth: single, ground out, single. It was all so easy, and in a game that had been close all night long, the Yankees were suddenly a grand slam behind.

The Yankees mounted a rally in the ninth as they often do, starting with a walks to Russell Martin and Derek Jeter. Granderson flicked a line drive to left, and it looked like a sure base hit, but again, left field is Trout territory, so it turned into an out. Angel reliever Ernesto Frieri plunked Alex Rodríguez, and suddenly the bases were loaded and Canó was walking to the plate as the potential tying run.

But if you’ve been paying attention lately, you know that the Yankees don’t get hits with the bases loaded. Canó struck out swinging. As the Angels announcer is fond of saying at the end of each victory, “Light that baby up.” Angels 5, Yankees 1. Lord help me.

*I know they’re not the Anaheim Angels, but they’re not the Los Angeles Angels, either. They don’t play in Los Angeles. They don’t play anywhere near Los Angeles.

[Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Hank Waddles  Yankees

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1 monkeypants   ~  May 30, 2012 2:21 am

I see from the box score that Jeter logged couple more hits.

2 Hank Waddles   ~  May 30, 2012 2:22 am

[1] Yes, two line drives. Nothing cheap.

3 Sliced Bread   ~  May 30, 2012 5:19 am

They have a Trout, and we have a school of Fish, that is, guys who look and play like Abe Vigoda.

Is Trout better than Salmon?

Try the veal, tip your waiters, you've been a terrific audience.

4 OldYanksFan   ~  May 30, 2012 6:35 am

He has nothing to show for it, but Swisher looked really good last night.

I can't complain about Andruw, but his AB reminded me of many Yankees, with the 400'-isn't-enough-it's-450'-or-bust mentality at the plate.

Considering size, Red Sox Mighty Mouse might take the biggest swing in baseball. But not with 2 strikes or a citical situation. Then, he just makes sure he makes contact and doesn't strike out. Damon was often like that. Ass out, falling over, goofy looking swings resulting... but a foul tip, not Strike 3.

Not trying to pull everything.
Not trying to DRIVE the ball.
Simply making contact.

I'm tired of the announcers calling a hit, and talking about "a nice, shortened stroke"... and it's ALWAYS the opposition. When's the last time you heard M.Kay say this? Do our guys get fined if they hit the ball back up the middle?

It's sad to see ARod turn into a singles hitter, but the guy goes with the pitch most of the time. He has 'punched' a number of opposite field base hits of late. He has bunted for a basehit. I miss the Gap Power, but at least his Jeterian approach is resulting in some non-outs (although too bad this doesn't happen with men on base).

Our team has taken this approach for years, but at least with Gritner, and even Cervelli, and JD when he was here, and of course Jeter, there was some relief.

I love Swisher, but he is also all-or-nothing.
Even Martin, who can't hit his weight, tries to cream the ball every time up.
When is Girardi goona get these guys to hit the pitch where it's pitched?

5 Chyll Will   ~  May 30, 2012 7:27 am

It's hard to feel bad for Alex; he chose his path and he reaped the benefits, so he must take the consequences as well. Maybe he heals in a few months or a year, but having admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs (even if how long is still in question) after getting a huge and unwarranted contract from an idiot, then aging right before everyone's eyes is not really cause for sympathy in my book, no matter how much of a team guy and likable he is now. I don't hate him and I hope he contributes more than he has so far, but I don't feel sorry for him.

Wake me up when the lineup decides to stop playing craps...

6 William Juliano   ~  May 30, 2012 7:30 am

Last night, the Yankees just got beat by a team that played very well. Monday's loss is the one to regret.

[5] I don't feel sorry for Arod...yet...because I think he still is and will be very productive. However, once he really does decline, I think it's ok to offer sympathy, even if he makes more money in a game than most earn in a year. Everyone's problems are relative.

7 Alex Belth   ~  May 30, 2012 7:33 am

Yeah, goddamn Phil Hughes...

8 OldYanksFan   ~  May 30, 2012 8:00 am

I don't feel sorry for ARod. It's sad for US to experience his decline and lack of production. I do think he's matured, and turned into a good teammate/team player.

He is not responsible for Tom Hicks' insanity. At the time, the speculation was he would get an AAV around $18m. One pundit actually speculated that he could even get AS MUCH AS $20m!!!!!!!!!!! Hicks distorted then entire FA market, cost himself tens of millions of dollars, and ultimately had to give ARod away, with the Yankees paying him $17m AAV.

Then there is Hank's insanity. I forgive that 10%, because I believe the Yankees were gambling on ARod breaking the HR record, whcih could have been part of Yankee History forever. After 2009, I though he could coast to the record (needing something like 23 HRs/yr for the length of his contract)

Nonetheless, ARod did not put a gun to Hicks' or Hank's head. He should not be hated for contracts he had nothing to do with... aside from signing them. And honestly, what ballplayer would have turned them down?

9 OldYanksFan   ~  May 30, 2012 8:07 am

A few tidbits from RAB:
... The Yankees loaded the bases in both the third and ninth innings, and both times Robinson Cano struck out to end the threat.
... As a team, the Yankees have zero hits in their last 15 at-bats and one hit in their last 34 at-bats with the bases juiced.
(Doesn't that seem almost statistically impossible???)
... Cano is now 6-for-44 (.136) with runners in scoring position this season

Robbie has the best, sweetest, most solid opposite field swing I've ever seen. Is he pressing in pressure situations, and trying to PULL the ball???

10 Hank Waddles   ~  May 30, 2012 9:08 am

[9] I had meant to look up that stat for the recap, but I didn't have the courage. 1 for 34? I think that IS statistically impossible. I can't imagine that's ever happened before -- seriously. As for Canó, maybe the problem is that string of grand slams he hit the last few years. If I remember right, he had struggled with the bases loaded early in his career, then hit all those slams. Maybe that's all he can think about when he gets up there now.

The good news, I guess, is that it has to break sometime. I realize that statistics have no memory, but it has to break sometime. I'm not even asking for a grand slam or even a double in the gap. How about a bloop over the shortstop's head? A dribbler through the middle? Anything?

11 Greg G   ~  May 30, 2012 10:30 am

I live in LA and the Yanks used to punish the Angels. It used to be that the Big A was 85% Yankee fans in the 90's and up until 2004. Now there are still a majority of Yankee fans at Angels games. Last night you could hear them chanting, "Jeter, Jeter" and he responded by getting a hit up the middle.

(9) Robbie was robbed during his first AB with the bases juiced. He took a called strike 3 that was a foot outside. I think it got in Robbie's head and in the ninth he as chasing too.

The Angels defense killed the Yanks as the outfield of Bourgos and Trout robbed Swisher 2 times and the 3rd was more routine, but Swish still crushed it.

The results weren't there, especially with Pettite, but the Yanks played a closer game than the final score showed.

Let's avoid the damn broom!!!

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver