The Yankees and Angels prepare for action under the lights at Yankee Stadium on Friday at 7:57 p.m. ET on FOX, kicking off the ALCS with CC Sabathia set to oppose John Lackey. And there is plenty of talk that the Yankees (103-59) and Angels (97-65), baseball's winningest teams of the year, are the best matchup that could have been hoped for.
"That's what everybody is saying," A.J. Burnett said. "Everybody that got this far is a good team. We just played a good team [in the Twins], so I guess the best of the best advance. We've got our work cut out for us, so we'll prepare and get ready."
Pitchouts and slide steps will take on importance for the pitching staff, because, one way or another, the Yankees have to figure out a way to cut down the Angels' speed game. It isn't impenetrable -- they stole 148 bases in 2009, but nobody was caught more (63).
"It's tough when you have [Chone] Figgins over there and he's jumping around and [Erick] Aybar and those guys," Sabathia said. "It's easy to make a bad pitch or hang a pitch to one of the guys in the middle of the lineup."
The Yankees still giggle when the Rally Monkey begins bouncing on the video screen at Angel Stadium and carrying on his late-inning shenanigans, but there's been little fun about the way the Angels have had the Yankees' number.
Since 1995, the Angels have been the only AL team to give the Yankees a losing record (68-80, .459), a testament to how Mike Scioscia's old-school style has given them headaches.