Yankees-Angels Preview


It's been nearly three years since the Los Angeles Angels swept three games from the New York Yankees, and much longer since they won nine in a row.

The surging Angels can record their first nine-game win streak in eight seasons by completing a sweep of the Yankees on Wednesday night in Anaheim.

Los Angeles (26-25) is in position to earn its first sweep of New York (26-23) since July 10-12, 2009, also at home. The Angels, who are 13-0 at home when scoring at least four runs, have not won nine straight since Aug. 18-27, 2004.

Mark Trumbo, who has homered in three straight games including a game-ending solo shot to give the Angels a 9-8 win in Monday's series opener, is 5 for 9 in the series. His .352 average this month ranks second in the AL.

"We're on a good roll now, and we've got to ride this as long as we can,'' Trumbo said.

Los Angeles is also finally seeing the Albert Pujols it expected when it signed him over the offseason. The slugger is 4 for 8 in this series and his 24 RBIs in May are second in the league only to Josh Hamilton's 31.

Pujols went deep in Tuesday's 5-1 victory for his 453rd career homer, breaking a tie with Carl Yastrzemski for 34th on baseball's career list. He has five homers and 10 RBIs during the Angels' winning streak.

"We probably looked dead for a month," manager Mike Scioscia said. "(Showing) life is just a by-product of starting to swing the bats."

Outfielders Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos made spectacular catches on long drives by the Yankees' Nick Swisher on Tuesday.

"It's pretty hard to say you're going to see an outfield that fast,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Their defense was what kept us from scoring runs tonight."

The Yankees haven't been swept since opening the season with three straight losses in Tampa Bay. Mark Teixeira has been the hitting star on their current road trip, going 11 for 20 with four homers and nine RBIs in five games - New York swept three in Oakland before coming to Anaheim.

Wednesday's mound matchup features starters used to different levels of help from their respective offenses.

While the Angels' Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.45 ERA) ranks among baseball's least fortunate starters with a run-support average of 2.37, the Yankees' Ivan Nova (5-2, 5.46) ranks among baseball's leaders in that department with a 6.75 mark.

Los Angeles starters own the best ERA in the AL at 3.32, with Santana the weak link in that group. The right-hander, however, has gone 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his last four starts after he went 0-6 with a 5.59 ERA in his first six.

Part of Santana's rough stretch was a five-run, six-inning stint at New York in a 5-0 loss April 13. He fell to 0-5 with a 6.49 ERA in his last seven starts against the Yankees.

New York hitters have had mixed success against Santana, with Derek Jeter (.415), Eric Chavez (.355) and Alex Rodriguez (.353) faring well. In contrast, Swisher (.194) and Teixeira (.167) have struggled.

Evidence of how well Nova is supported can be found in his 11-5 home victory over the Angels on April 15 despite yielding four runs over six innings. He's 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against them.

Trumbo is 4 for 8 with a homer off the Yankees right-hander, but Pujols is 0 for 3.

Nova is 9-0 with a 3.35 ERA in his last 12 road starts, but his last loss away from home was also his only loss to the Angels, a 3-2 defeat last June 3 in which he gave up three runs - two earned - and eight hits over six innings.