Los Angeles (67-40) at New York (59-48)

Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 35° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Jul 31, 2008
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The red-hot Los Angeles Angels appear to be cruising toward the playoffs, but that didn’t stop them from making a major move to bolster their offense.

The New York Yankees, meanwhile, are in the thick of a tight pennant race - and they added a veteran bat to try to increase their chances of making a 14th straight postseason appearance.

The Yankees expect to debut new catcher Ivan Rodriguez on Thursday when they face Mark Teixeira and the Angels in a matchup of teams that pulled off major deals this week.

New York (59-48) acquired the 14-time All-Star from Detroit on Wednesday for reliever Kyle Farnsworth.

In the option year of a $50 million deal he signed with the Tigers in February 2004, Rodriguez will step into the hole in the Yankees’ lineup created by Jorge Posada’s season-ending shoulder injury.

“Honestly, I was shocked by this, but that’s baseball,” Rodriguez said. “Now, I’m just looking forward to playing for the Yankees and maybe I will play against Detroit again in the playoffs.”

The Yankees, who ended a three-game slide with a 13-3 win over Baltimore on Wednesday, are in third place in the AL East. They trail Tampa Bay by four games and wild card leader Boston by one.

Los Angeles (67-40) is in a completely different situation with the best record in baseball and a comfortable 11 1/2-game lead over Texas in the AL West. But the Angels decided to get Teixeira, who was acquired from Atlanta for first baseman Casey Kotchman and a minor leaguer on Tuesday.

Teixeira made his first start as an Angel on Wednesday as Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep at Boston with a 9-2 win. He went 0-for-4 with a walk, but Garret Anderson was 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs as the Angels improved to 10-2 since the All-Star break.

“There’s so much we’re trying to get him acclimated with,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia about Teixeira. “I didn’t see any jitters at all. He’s going to be fine.”

The opener of this four-game series also marks the first 2008 meeting between New York and Los Angeles. The Angels have traditionally been a difficult opponent for the Yankees, eliminating them from the playoffs in 2002 and 2005 and capturing the season series the last four years, including a 6-3 mark in 2007.

“Well, they’re the best team in our league right now,” manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees’ official Web site. “They have the best record. They’ve played very well on the road. They’ve played very well at home. They do a lot of things right. They pitch, they hit, they play defense, they have team speed.”

Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (12-7, 3.76 ERA) is 6-2 with a 4.42 ERA in 10 career home outings against the Angels, including four straight wins. Last season, he went 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two overall starts against them.

Pettitte will try to win his third straight start. He yielded three runs - one earned - over six innings on Saturday in a 10-3 victory at Boston, as his ERA dropped to its lowest mark since April 25.

Anderson is a career .380 hitter against Pettitte, while Teixeira has nine hits in 19 career at-bats versus the left-hander.

Jon Garland (9-6, 4.30) counters for the Angels. He improved to 2-1 despite a 5.70 ERA in four starts in July by winning Saturday at Baltimore as he yielded five runs over 5 1-3 innings in an 11-6 victory.

The right-hander went 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against the Yankees in 2007 to improve to 3-5 with a 4.26 ERA in nine career outings versus them.

Alex Rodriguez is 14-for-34 (.412) in his career against Garland, but Ivan Rodriguez is just 7-for-38 (.184).

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Starting Pitchers

J. Garland Col vs. A. Pettitte NYY
14-8 Record 14-14
4.90 ERA 4.54
90 K 158
59 BB 55
1.51 WHIP 1.41

Scoreboard

Thursday, Jul 31