The major storyline for the Los Angeles Angels this week has been the power struggle between General Manager Jerry DiPoto (who resigned Wednesday), and manager Mike Scioscia. On the field, however, their pitching staff reigned supreme as they nearly swept the Yankees, who recently have struggled to support their own quality hurlers.
The first game on Monday, a 4-1 Angels win, was absolutely owned by Mike Trout. He victimized Chris Young twice, robbing him of extra base hits, while homering to give the Angels the lead for good. While no one for the Halos had a multi-hit game, their 2-3-4 trio of Kole Calhoun, Trout, and Albert Pujols each had a hit and an RBI to lead the way. Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia was better than he had been in recent starts, allowing 4 runs but pitching deeper into the game, getting an out in the 7th before being yanked in favor of Nick Rumbelow.
The problem for the Yankees wasn’t collecting hits, they had 8, it was capitalizing on the situations that they created. They went 1-10 with runners in scoring position and left 9 runners on base. Brett Gardner continued his hot streak, collecting 3 hits, while Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius had 2 each. Trouts defensive gems helped out C.J. Wilson, who allowed only 1 run in 5 innings. The dependable Huston Street picked up his 22nd save of the season to wrap things up.
The Yankees were done in by one bad inning on Tuesday in what turned out to be a 2-1 loss. Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar hit back-to-back homers in the 6th inning off of Ivan Nova to ruin his 11.2 scoreless innings streak to start his return from Tommy John Surgery. He went 5.1 innings, scattering 8 hits but allowed just those two runs. Aybar, Trout, and Matt Joyce had two hits each but the Angels went 0-11 with runners in scoring position.
Angels starter Andrew Heaney didn’t need much else to earn his first major league victory, shutting down the Yanks for 7 innings. He allowed two hits, one of them being a Mark Teixeira dinger, and was in total control for most of the ballgame. There’s not much else to say about the Yankees offense, being that their only other offensive highlight was a Brett Gardner single.
Wednesday night saw the Yankees play with more intensity in a 3-1 win to avoid the sweep. Garrett Jones hit a solo homer, and Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley had an RBI each to create the offense. Didi Gregorius and Chris Young had two hits apiece as well. Matt Shoemaker pitched well, allowing two of those runs in 5.2 innings, but roles were reversed as the Yanks supported their starter instead.
Nathan Eovaldi pitched well in his third consecutive start. He gave up 5 hits and 3 walks in 5.1 innings and that’s it. Dellin Betances worked 4 outs to earn his 7th save. Johnny Giavotella had 2 of 6 hits for LA. Trout’s solo homer in the 8th is all that they could force across the plate to conclude a true pitchers’ series.
Now, for the most prestigious and dubious honors for a Yankees player:
Offensive MVP: Didi Gregorius- Drove in 1 of the team’s 5 runs this series at a 4-10 clip.
Offensive Slug: Chris Young- Unfortunately a bad set for him in a bad offensive series. 2-12 with 0 RBI.
Pitcher of the Series: Nathan Eovaldi- 5.1 scoreless innings to stop the bleeding and avoid the sweep.
Pitching Nightmare: CC Sabathia- Not really a bad start, but 4 earned runs won’t cut it when your offensive support is feeble.