Ten Reasons Why the Angels Will Beat the Yankees:
The start of the ALCS is a little more than 24 hours away and Angel fans are licking their chops to taste some Yankee blood. Will the Angels once again demonstrate their uncanny knack for stopping the Yankee juggernaut or will the best team that money can buy finally return to the promised land? Here are ten reasons why the Angels should defeat the Yankees:
- Run, rabbit, run - It is no secret that the Yankee defense is nothing special, particularly in the corner outfield spots. The Angels need to be as aggressive as ever on the bases, be it stealing bases or trying to get an extra base on a ball in play to pressure the Yankee defense because eventually they will break. And the mere threat of the baserunners can rattle even the most stoic starting pitcher, which would go a long way towards neutralizing the Yankees' perceived advantage in the rotation, especially a certain mental midget that goes by the name of AJ Burnett who has a hard enough time focusing on the mound if someone is jingling some shiny car keys in the stands.
- History repeats itself - History has a funny way of repeating itself and all of the relevant history between the Yankees and Angels involves the Angels coming out on top. No other team in the league has a better record against the Yanks in the 21st century (50-41), and that doesn't even include the Angels' two post-season series victories over the Bombers (6-3). I know this sounds hypocritical considering what just transpired between LAA and Boston, but that was a flukier history that focused solely on three isolated post-season series, not a decade of domination over the course of 100 games.
- Owner karma - The Angels are owned by amiable, self-made millionaire Arte Moreno who bought the team several years ago and has been working to build a world class, fan-friendly organization ever since. He has poured his heart and soul into the franchise and would love nothing more than a World Series title. Conversely, the Yankees are owned by Hank Steinbrenner, a megalomaniac, spoiled brat that was given the team by his daddy and has ruled with an iron fist and daddy's checkbook. All a title would mean to him is that he can justify running his mouth in the media and a little bit of approval from dear old dad.
Like father, like son. And I don't mean that as a compliment.
- The Angels aren't the Twins - The Yankees did sweep the Twins who are a similar squad to the Angels, but they didn't exactly dominate them from start to finish. That isn't a good sign seeing how the Twinkies were missing Justin Morneau and generally fielding a line-up that was half-filled with players that even Ron Gardenhire had never hear of. Nor will the Yankee hitters be getting off so lightly by only having to face the likes of Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn and Carl Pavano and his bruised buttocks. Suffice it to say the Halos will give the Yankees a bit more of a challenge.
- Battle of the bad bullpens - Yes, the Yankees still have Mariano Rivera, but getting to him will be a problem. Phil Hughes has emerged as a strong set-up man, but has only been doing so for half a season and has yet to prove he can handle the pressure of the post-season much less the Angels (who have gotten to him twice in three appearances this season). After Hughes, the options are even more unproven in anonymous relievers like David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves and Phil Coke. They will have the services of Joba Chamberlain who washed out as a starting pitcher and is now trying to recapture his relief magic on the fly. Believe it or not, the Angels may not have the worst bullpen in this series.
- New Yankee Stadium - Remember when players used to be intimidated at the mere thought of playing in the House that Ruth Built? Yeah, well that is totally gone now. The New Yankee Stadium was constructed to look similar to old Yankee Stadium, but it doesn't feel or sound anything like it. Crowd noise used to practically shake the entire stadium, now the acoustics are so bad that even the most raucous crowd can barely shake CC Sabathia's gelatinous gut, much less rattle opposing players.
Oops, the new stadium doesn't come with fans, dammit.
- What home cooking? - The Yankees have the best home record in baseball (57-24). This would be a problem for most opposing teams, but the Angels ain't scared of no road ghosts since they are the best road team in baseball (48-33). That's too bad for you, Yankees.
- Revenge - Revenge is definitely going to be a motivator for LAA this series. Bobby Abreu will certainly want to exact some for being pushed out the door in New York and the entire Angel organization sure wouldn't mind getting back at Mark Teixeira for screwing them over in free agency. Even Angels are allowed to be a little petty sometimes.
- Kate Hudson - I am convinced that Alex Rodriguez's new movie star girlfriend, Kate Hudson, will ultimately jinx them. Everything she touches turns to death. Have you seen Fool's Gold? That might be the worst movie ever made... ever! Nor should we forget that Owen Wilson tried to kill himself after dating her. She hasn't been associated with anything good in her whole career, except for Almost Famous and the Yankees probably aren't going to change that.
She was a muse in the movies but is a hex in real life.
- Momentum - The Yankees coasted into their division title and received only a minor scare from Minnesota in the ALDS, so they might be in for a rude awakening when the Angels show up and punch them right in the mouth. The Halos meanwhile are riding a major hot streak and have been battling hard to win each game for several weeks now. So with New York only now getting their first taste of real competition, the Angels have already had a healthy helping of it, putting the momentum squarely on their side of the table.
I’ve never been one to only look at one side of the story, so in the interest of equal time, here are a few reasons why the Angels might not beat the Yankees:
Five Reasons Why the Angels WON’T Beat the Yankees:
- Are they having fun? - The Yankee teams of the 21st century have typically been a collection of very professional, very dry mercenary-types. It used to be the old "25 cabs for 25 guys" credo in the New York clubhouse, but Brian Cashman finally spent some money on guys with actual personality and brought a little fun into the dugout and it seems to have done the team a world of good. That new sense of levity should give them a chance of staying loose for a change in the playoffs rather than reverting to their usual strategy of crumbling under a mountain of self-imposed pressure.
- Something is lacking - Aces need to win for their team in the post-season. It is just that simple. That could be a problem for the Angels since their ace, John Lackey has never really fared that well against New York. Big John is 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.53 WHIP on his career against the Yanks, which is a very bad sign given he is slated to start in two of the first five games of the series.
- Crap, someone woke up A-Rod - This seems to be the year of redemption for aging superstars with spotty post-season records. First it was Vlad against the Red Sox and now it is Alex Rodriguez coming up big against the Twins. A-Rod's confidence has to be higher than his artificially boosted testosterone levels right now and that should scare the heck out of the Angels since the Yankee line-up looked a lot less formidable when everyone thought Rodriguez was going to be a giant black hole in the middle of the order instead of maintaining his Hall of Fame form.
Yeah, I know how this looks, but trust me when I say the Angels need to take A-Rod seriously.
- Three games of CC Sabathia - If the weather allows it, the Yankees might very well get to start CC Sabathia in Games 1, 4 and 7. I believe the word you are looking for is "zoiks!" The Angels have beaten him twice already this year, but the fact of the matter is Sabathia is an ace and more often than not he is going to win. The Angels might get to him once, maybe even twice, but certainly not three times. That means they are going to have to make sure they take care of business against AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte which is no walk in the park either.
- The Yankees are due - I hate to admit it, but this team has been too talented for too long to not have won a championship by now. Sooner or later they are going to break through and there is no time like the present.