Guerrero rests, Willits responds
NEW YORK -- Angels Manager Mike Scioscia gave Vladimir Guerrero, who had started 31 consecutive games in right field or at designated hitter, Sunday off, the slugger’s first day off since sitting out a game June 25 because of flu-like symptoms.
Guerrero can be seen before most games walking with a stiff leg through the clubhouse because of the heating pad wrapped around his right knee, but Scioscia said Guerrero is not injured. With a huge division lead, Scioscia can afford to rest his starters more often.
“He’s been getting treatment on his knee for four years,” Scioscia said. “He’s no different from any other player who has 100 games under his belt. . . . When a guy needs a day off, you have to give it to him.”
Replacing Guerrero in right field and batting ninth Sunday was Reggie Willits, who made only his second start since June 18.
“Hitting ninth, as the order comes around, he can feed the middle of the lineup,” Scioscia said.
Willits was an excellent provider, drawing four walks and scoring three runs. Of the 22 pitches thrown to Willits, he swung at two, fouling them off.
Somewhere in the haze of Angels errors and a blaze of Yankees hits Sunday was a silver lining for the Angels, who finished 7-3 on their trip to Baltimore, Boston and New York, their best record on any trip to those three cities in franchise history.
Though an 8-2 mark would have been their best record on any 10-game trip in franchise history, the Angels returned from a trip to Baltimore, Boston and New York with a winning record for only the fourth time in 26 such trips.
On the bright side
The Angels’ shoddy defensive work in the late innings Sunday led to 10 unearned runs, but they did make one fine defensive play, in the fourth inning.
The Yankees had the bases loaded with one out when Xavier Nady lifted a fly ball to medium left field that would have easily driven in Derek Jeter, who was tagging at third. But Bobby Abreu, who was on second, tagged as well and was thrown out by Garret Anderson on a one-hop throw to third base.
Plate umpire Ed Rapuano ruled that Jeter had not crossed the plate before Chone Figgins tagged Abreu at third base, so Jeter’s run was nullified.
Willits was “a little dizzy” and had a headache after being clipped by center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. while diving for Nady’s two-run double to the gap in the sixth inning, but said he was OK. . . . Two weekend losses to the Yankees marked the first time since July 8-9 at Texas that the Angels have lost consecutive games.