Angels vs Yankees Play Rubber Match of Potential 2012 ALSC Preview
If probabilities mean anything, the (3-5) LA Angels and the (4-4) New York Yankees are at the start of a long collision course which will eventually end in the 2012 American League Championship Series. However, by looking at their current records, it certainly wouldn’t seem like these old rivals are destined to battle it out for the AL Pennant in 2012.
Trying to overcome slow starts, the Halos and the Bronx Bombers will close out their first series of the season in what should be an entertaining rubber-match this evening. First pitch of this MLB series finale is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET (5:05 PM PT) from Yankee Stadium and it’ll be broadcasted live on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
Tonight’s pitching matchup certainly isn’t one for the ages, but should be an entertaining one nonetheless. Two guys looking to prove they belong at the MLB level will take the hill in the tiebreaker of an early must-win game.
For the visiting Angels, Mike Scioscia will be looking to win his first series of the year when he sends 30-year-old call-up, RHP Jerome Williams (MLB Career: 27-29, 4.20 ERA) to the mound. After signing a minor league contract in June of 2011, Williams will be making his first start in an Angels’ uniform this season.
Is there a better way to step on the big stage than at the “Boogie Down Bronx” versus Yankees lineup in primetime on ESPN? After finishing the season with a 4-0 record and a 3.68 ERA in 10 games (6 starts) a year ago, and considering the lack of consistency from the current rotation, Scioscia certainly seems to think so.
“I looked at it like, ‘Wow, going from High-A, facing some young kids, facing some kids that can swing the bat, to going to pitching in Yankee Stadium and facing almost a whole lineup of potential Hall of Famers,’” Williams said. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking, but it’s another game. Go out there, just take it like any other ballgame — go out there and pitch your game.”
For the Yankees, Joe Girardi’s starter tonight, RHP Ivan Nova (1-0, 2.57 ERA), knows all about being thrown into the fire. With all the pressures that come with wearing the pinstripes in NYC, Nova flourished, finishing the season with a 16-2 record in 24 starts a year ago. The hard-throwing righty will be looking to solidify his spot in the Yanks’ rotation while avoiding a letdown season considering teams will have extensive scouting reports prepared to face his stuff.
The 25-year-old Dominican took the first step in the right direction towards accomplishing his goals in Monday’s series opener against the O’s. Nova got his first win of the young campaign despite allowing 10 hits through his 7 innings of work in Baltimore. He certainly did a great job of minimizing his mistakes with runners on base. With just 2 runs allowed over 7, the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder didn’t issue a free pass, tallied 7 punch-outs and drew some nice words of encouragement from the captain.
“Every time out, he’s the same,” said longtime shortstop Derek Jeter following Nova’s debut. “He had a lot of success last year. I thought his confidence got a little bit better there last season, the more success he had. It carried into today’s game, but he pretty much has the same demeanor every time.”
Who will win the rubber-match of this three-game set from the Bronx, which could easily be a preview of the 2012 ALCS?