Yankees-Angels: Stars Align for Big Series in Anaheim

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, April 26, 2018 3:52 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 3:52 PM UTC

Story lines abound Friday night as the New York Yankees open a hyped three-game weekend series at the Los Angeles Angels. Could the teams meet again in Anaheim come October?

New York Yankees at Los Angeles AngelsFree MLB Pick: YankeesBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Marquee series of the weekend in baseball is clearly Yankees at Angels, which should draw sellout crowds each night to Anaheim as well as huge TV ratings and very big betting action at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Friday’s is the only game not nationally televised but is available for stream on ESPN+. We will also have previews here at SBR for Saturday’s game, shown on Fox Sports 1, and Sunday night’s ESPN matchup.

Certainly, this series will be full of superstars, from reigning AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge and 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton on the Yankees, and two-time AL MVP Mike Trout and likely 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani of the Angels. Trout already has set the Angels’ record for homers in the month of April and will be in the MVP conversation again. The Yanks won’t see Ohtani the pitcher, but he should be in there as a DH on Friday. New York thought it had a great chance of landing Ohtani this winter with the history of Japanese players to play for the Yankees.

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List of players in Yankees history with 9+ HRs & 29+ RBI in the first month of the season:

Tino Martinez (1997)
Alex Rodriguez (2007)
Didi Gregorius (2018)

— Jesse Foster (@Jesse__Foster) April 25, 2018

Yet the best player right now on either team is Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius. Go look at his numbers! Gregorius is having one of the best Aprils in Yankee history and became the first shortstop in MLB history with at least eight homers and 27 RBIs in his team’s first 22 games. As of Thursday, Gregorius leads the majors in average (.372), slugging (.833), OPS (1.303), total bases (65) and RBIs (29). He’s second in homers (9) and Top 5 in OBP (.470).

Derek Jeter who? “We don’t even bring him up anymore,” CC Sabathia said this week, referring to Jeter. “Didi has been that good.”

The Angels were 4-2 vs. the Yankees last year, 2-1 in Anaheim. Neither team has swept the other there this century.

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So hot right now 🔥 pic.twitter.com/V29YCDMTRt

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 25, 2018

Probable Pitchers: Severino vs. Heaney

Looks to be a huge edge on the mound for New York as it throws young All-Star right-hander Luis Severino (4-1, 2.32). The 24-year-old had one rough outing on April 10 in Boston but otherwise has allowed just three earned runs in his other four starts. He beat the Blue Jays on Sunday, allowing one run (his first homer of the season) and three hits over seven with a season-high 112 pitches. His WHIP is down to 0.90 and his BAA is a scant .168.

Severino has faced the Angels just once, and it was one of his worst starts of 2017 in allowing six runs and eight hits over six innings of a home loss on June 22. Trout was injured then and thus will get his first official at-bat vs. Severino. Justin Upton is just 2-for-9 with five Ks off him. Ian Kinsler 3-for-10 with a homer.

Angels lefty Andrew Heaney (0-1, 9.64) once was a touted prospect but other than 2015 with the Angels hasn’t been able to put it all together or stay healthy. He was limited to one start in 2016 and five last year due to injuries. He hasn’t been good in two this season, allowing four runs over five in Kansas City and seven over 4.1 last time out vs. the Giants.

Heaney’s lone start vs. the Yankees was June 30, 2015, when he surrendered one run and two hits over seven innings in a victory. Only three current Yankees have seen him: Gregorius (0-for-2), Aaron Hicks (0-for-3) and Brett Gardner (1-for-3).

  • Angels are 1-5 in Heaney’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Angels are 7-19 in their last 26 games following an off day.
  • Yankees are 4-0 in their last 4 during game 1 of a series.

New York has won seven of Severino’s past 10 on the road, while the Halos are just 2-6 in Heaney’s past eight at home. Take the Bombers and the red-hot Gregorius for a Friday MLB pick.

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