The Yankees will face the Angels today – for the first time this season – and will then have to play them nine more times over the next six weeks. Here’s what General Joe thinks of them, via Tyler Kepner -
“[The Angels are] the best team in our league right now,” [Joe] Girardi said. “They have the best record; they play very well on the road and very well at home. They do a lot of things right — they pitch, they play defense, they have team speed. They’re an exciting team, and we’re going to have 10 tough games against them.”
The Angels are blistering hot right now. Yes, they have the most wins in baseball. But, they’ve also just won 18 of their last 24 games. Further, they have owned the Yankees recently – beating New York six of nine times in 2007 and six of ten times in both 2006 and 2005. Do the math on that one: In their last 29 regular season match-ups, the Angels have beaten the Yankees 18 times. Oh, and, by the way, the Angels also now have Mark Teixeira.
This season, the Angels have the best team OPS in High Leverage situations. And, they have the lowest road ERA in the league. This is why they are 36-19 on the road this season, to date. And, it’s that road record which has helped them get the most wins in baseball (so far).
Point blank, right now, the Angels are the best team that the Yankees will have faced all season. When you also consider that the Angels have feasted on the Yankees for the last three years prior to this season, there’s no better test for New York now – in terms of telling whether or not this Yankees team can hang with “the big boys.”
Since the Yankees play the Angels for four games, now, and then another three times (in L.A.) from August 8th through the 10th, within less than two weeks, we’ll know how this Yankees team matches up against them.
Me? I’m making no predictions other than the fact that this will be a true litmus test as to whether or not this Yankees team has what it takes to beat a really good team. And, I’m very anxious to see the results.