After taking two of three from their biggest rival, the New York Yankees look to keep their momentum going Friday when they face a team they have struggled against in the first-place Los Angeles Angels.
New York (21-24) defeated Boston 8-3 on Wednesday to take the set after dropping their previous three series. The Yankees, 9 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox, have won three of four since losing three straight."We won the series. That's what we need to concentrate on really, not worry about winning 15 in a row," said New York's Andy Pettitte, who allowed one run in seven innings for the victory.Hideki Matsui went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, while Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Doug Mientkiewicz each had three hits for New York, who matched a season high with 16 hits.Jeter will take an 18-game hitting streak into Friday's series opener. He's batting .426 (29-for-68) with 18 RBIs during the streak, and is a .350 hitter with 14 home runs and 64 RBIs against the Angels.Jeter and teammate Jorge Posada are both hitting .367 to tie for first in the AL. Jeter also leads the league with a .444 on-base percentage.New York went 4-6 against Los Angeles last season and the teams split a four-game series at Yankee Stadium. The Angels are the only team with a winning record against the Yankees during Joe Torre's tenure as manager, going 55-52 overall and 28-24 in the Bronx since Torre took over in 1996.It's one more challenge for a New York club that needs to get on an extended hot streak if it wants to join the playoff race."Right now, we don't have a choice. Every series becomes a mini-playoff series," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said.Rookie Tyler Clippard (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will make his Yankee Stadium debut Friday. Clippard allowed one run and three hits in six innings of the Yankees' 6-2 win over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on Sunday in his major league debut."It was unbelievable," the 22-year-old Clippard said. "When I first walked out to the mound, it was definitely overwhelming. It was a lot different than in the minor leagues."The right-hander will face a Los Angeles club that will be trying to avoid a third straight loss after winning six straight and 11 of 13.The Angels (28-20), who have a four-game lead over Oakland and Seattle in the AL West, are coming off their worst defeat of the season, 12-0 at Detroit on Thursday.Orlando Cabrera had one of Los Angeles' four hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He's batting .431 (25-for-58) during the stretch.Vladimir Guerrero, who went 0-for-1 with two walks Thursday, is hitting .309 against the Yankees in his career and .455 (10-for-22) in his last five games against New York.The Angels gave up a season high in runs Thursday and have allowed 20 in their last two games after giving up 10 during the six-game winning streak. Jered Weaver (3-3, 3.46 ERA) will try to give Los Angeles a much-needed strong pitching performance Friday.Weaver, looking for his third straight win, allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of the Angels' 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his last three starts after starting 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA."I just want to go out there and want everything to be consistent," Weaver told the Angels' official Web site. "That's all I'm worrying about now."Weaver allowed one run and three hits in six innings to pick up a 5-3 road win at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 13, his only appearance against New York.