Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Quantifying the Angels dominance
How long has it been since the Yankees last beat the Angels in a regular season series?
It was so long ago that LeBron James hadn't even begun his NBA career yet.
By winning both games in this series from the Angels, the Yankees would end up on the positive side of the ledger against them for the first time (and we remind you regular season, not postseason) since 2003.
Since 2004, the Angels are 38-26 against the Yankees, 3-3 in 2010. They're the only AL team against whom the Yankees have a losing record in that span.
Worst Win Pct By Yankees
vs AL Opponent since 2004
>> Have beaten all other AL teams
60+ pct of the time
Somehow, they've managed to dominate the Yankees while struggling against the Blue Jays (27-28 against them), but that's neither here nor there.
What do the Yankees have to do to beat the Angels? It's actually really, really, really simple. Shut down their bats.
The constant in this run of Angels success is that they've slugged with the Yankees, and then some. And the numbers are really impressive. Here are two sets that jump off the page:
• The Angels have scored at least seven runs in 22 of their 64 meetings (34 percent of the time) and they've averaged 5.56 runs per game. The only team against whom the Yankees have allowed more runs per game in this span is the Red Sox, and it's by a hair -- 5.64.
Most Players w/ .300 BA vs Yankees
Since 2004 (minimum 30 PA
• Since 2004, there are 14 different Angels who are hitting .300 or better against the Yankees (minimum 30 plate appearances). The other three teams in the AL West -- Rangers, Athletics, and Mariners -- have combined for 13 players who hit .300 against the Yankees in that same time period.
That's a group led by Kendry Morales, whose .400 batting average and six home runs in 60 at-bats, the Yankees won't have to worry about since he's out with a broken leg, and Howard Kendrick, who has hit the Yankees like he's Ty Cobb.
We say that last note seriously: My eagle-eyed Stats and Info colleague, Katie Sharp checked into it last season after noting Kendrick's amazing numbers, and the folks at the Elias Sports Bureau reported back with some ridiculous findings, since updated in the chart to your right.
Kendrick ranks second to only Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty's .383 for the best batting average against the Yankees EVER.
Highest Career BA vs Yankees
Minimum 100 Career PA
Shoeless Joe Jackson
>> Source: Elias Sports Bureau
The good news for the Yankees is that most of the bats that have done damage against them are no longer wearing an Angels uniform.
Garret Anderson's .358 batting average and 30 RBI in 36 games are on the other side of the city with the Dodgers. Vladimir Guerrero's .330 batting average and 41 RBI in 50 games are with the Rangers. Chone Figgins (.327 BA, .393 OBP) is now a struggling Mariner.
And Mark Teixeira's on the right side of things now, after hitting .355 with 10 RBI in nine games as an Angel against the Yankees (but is only hitting .167 with four RBI in 16 games as a Yankee against the Angels).
Instead, the Yankees merely have to figure out how to get the likes of Kendrick, catcher Mike Napoli (.375 with a herculean 1.142 OPS), and shorstop Erick Aybar (.316 BA) out, and you'd figure the law of averages will catch up with some of those guys eventually. It already has with Kendrick, who is 2-for-18 against the Yankees this season.
Career vs Yankees
The Yankees do have one thing going for them, at least tonight -- they have an Angels stopper on the mound. Phil Hughes is 3-0 against the Angels, the best record for any Yankees pitcher in this not-so-divine stretch.
Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. You can follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn