Following a 5-2 homestand, the Angels will have ace Bartolo Colon on the mound when they travel to New York for the opener of a three-game series with the Yankees.
Even though the Yankees have been the dominant team in the American League over the last decade, the Angels have won 43 of 87 meetings between the clubs since 1996, and knocked New York out of the playoffs in 2002 on their way to a world championship.
Since 1988, the Angels are 91-92 against the Yankees, including winning six of 10 season series since 1995. Los Angeles won last year’s series 5-4 with a three-game sweep in the Bronx in August.
With Colon taking the ball in the opener, the Angels have a real opportunity to get off to a good start in this series. The hard-throwing right-hander has been dominant in winning his last two starts, allowing just one run and six hits over 15 innings, with two walks and 11 strikeouts.
The Cleveland Indians were no match for Colon on Wednesday as the Dominican ace limited them to just two hits over eight innings in a 2-0 win.
Colon, who allowed 68 home runs over the past two seasons, has given up only one homer in 27 2-3 innings through his first four starts.
“This is more a result of Bart feeling much stronger and having much more consistency so far this season than he had during that rough spell last year,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “When you challenge guys, it’s inevitable you’re going to give up home runs. It hasn’t happened yet, but Bart’s going to stay aggressive.
“The important thing is to make pitches, and that’s where Bart’s focus is.”
The Yankees are off to their second straight 8-11 start. Last year, they followed up their slow start by winning eight straight and 13 of 16, and went on to finish with 101 wins and their seventh straight AL East title.
This year, they may not rebound as quickly due to injuries and inconsistency.
With Jaret Wright out four to six weeks with a shoulder injury and 40-year-old Kevin Brown off to a brutal start, the back end of the Yankees’ rotation is in shambles. However, they can probably survive on their big three starters for the time being.
Ace Randy Johnson rebounded from a pair of lackluster outings by throwing eight strong innings in an 11-1 win over Texas on Sunday. The Yankees have not won more than two in a row this season.
“We know we’re good,” manager Joe Torre said. “But we haven’t proved it to ourselves yet. We haven’t put enough together to get the confidence level where it needs to be.”