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AL West: The Anti-Yankees
Since Joe Torre took over as Yankees manager in 1996, the Bronx Bombers have undoubtedly been baseball's most dominant franchise. Winning four World Series titles and 10 division crowns during this stretch, the Yankees have compiled a winning record against every American League team ... except the Angels.
After taking two of three games from the Yankees this week, the Angels improved their record against the Torre-led Yankees to 61-55. Even more impressive, over the past 33 games, Los Angeles has managed 21 wins (including six wins in nine games this season). And this doesn't even include the postseason, in which Los Angeles ousted New York in 2002 and 2005.
It's difficult to identify exactly why the Angels give New York such well-documented fits, but Los Angeles' aggressive approach may have something to do with it.
The Angels' game plan couldn't be more foreign to the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees annually field a dynamic offense; this year's lineup ranks leads the majors in runs (758), home runs (160), batting average (.293), on-base percentage (.367) and slugging percentage (.468). Torre in recent years has had a station-to-station mentality, letting his sluggers take care of business on their own. Angels manager Mike Scioscia employs a far more active modus operandi. Los Angeles' offense is constantly in motion. With a lineup chock full of capable baserunners (including Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera, Reggie Willits, Gary Matthews Jr., Vlad Guerrero, Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick), Scioscia rarely sits back and waits for the three-run homer. The Halos lead the American League in stolen bases (115) and go first-to-third better than any team in baseball.
"They put pressure on you," Torre said to the New York Times. "They're distracting. They don't stop."
Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui likes to also give credit to Los Angeles' pitching staff, which seems to perform at its best against the Bombers.
"You get the feeling that they really study the Yankees," Matsui told the Los Angles Times. "And they've assembled the talent to execute their game plans, particularly the pitchers. They don't make mistakes. They don't self-destruct."
The Angels don't have any more regular season games against the Yanks, but the teams could face off in the playoffs, possibly in the first round.
Labels: AL West
posted by SI.com | View comments |
what a total cliche there is no such term as anti-yankees because the yankees have never been americas team to love or hate,i mean lets face truthful words what is there to hate about a team like the yankees??????? for having the highest payroll in baseball and getting thumped in the division series year after year? yeah okay that will fuel totally brutal hatred in the eyes of every baseball fan in the U.S
Wes Littleton is my hero
ok, as a die hard angel fan, i know what an anti-yankee team is: it's a team that is not put together by weird science. Remember that movie, they cut out all the best parts of women they liked, fed them into a computer and it spits out the perfect woman. now that's what the yanks do. they go around and get the best 1st baseman, best pitcher, etc., but beauty lies in the team aspect of baseball. the halos are all required to bunt the runner over if needed. and they will--even vlade will listen. now try getting the ny egos to do a squeeze play on the last day of the season when player x has 49 dingers and needs 1 more to get an incentive. hmm, what will he do???
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