How do Angels measure up to Yankees? Based on one game, it’s not even close

Angels pitcher Noah Syndergaard reacts as New York Yankees' Matt Carpenter runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run.
Angels pitcher Noah Syndergaard reacts as New York Yankees’ Matt Carpenter runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning Tuesday in New York.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

There were no late-inning meltdowns for the Angels on Tuesday night. Their game against the New York Yankees was essentially over in the first two innings, when Noah Syndergaard was roughed up for five runs and six hits in an eventual 9-1 loss before a crowd of 31,242 in Yankee Stadium.

The lack of delayed daggers like the ones the Toronto Blue Jays delivered during their four-game sweep of the Angels in Anaheim did not diminish the direness of the situation.

The Angels have lost six straight games and 10 of their last 13. They were 24-13 and tied for first place in the American League West on May 15. Their two-week tailspin dropped them to 27-23 and 4½ games behind Houston.


“You have to have one thought, I think,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said, when asked his level of concern about the team. “Either you trust your people, or you don’t. Either you like your guys, or you don’t.

“I trust my guys a lot. Fortunately, we got off to a wonderful start so that you could kind of absorb a moment like this. When you get off to a really bad start, moments like this could be devastating.”

It’s too early in the season for a make-or-break series, but three road games against a team with the best record in baseball qualifies as a benchmark of sorts.

“There are measuring sticks of where you’re at and how good you are,” Maddon said before the game, “and this is a perfect team to see how you measure up.”

When Angels shortstop Andrew Velazquez returns to New York this week, he’ll be back where he grew up and made a choice about the direction of his life.

If Tuesday’s game is any indication, the Angels don’t measure up to the AL East-leading Yankees right now. In fact, they don’t seem close.

While Syndergaard gave up five runs and seven hits in 21/3 innings, the Angels managed one run and four hits in seven innings off Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

Starting pitching has been a strength for the Angels, who entered Tuesday with baseball’s ninth-best rotation earned-run average (3.44), lowest average against (.214) and fourth-best WHIP (1.13 walks plus hits per inning pitched).

But the Yankees (34-15) have a superior rotation, one with the second-best ERA (2.78), the best WHIP (1.01) and the third-lowest average against (.216).

“I know their offense gets a lot of publicity,” Maddon said of the Yankees, “but I really liked their starting pitching a lot.”

The Angels are not at full strength, with third baseman Anthony Rendon on the injured list because of inflammation in his right wrist and right fielder Taylor Ward missing most of last week because of a shoulder/neck injury.

But the Yankees (34-15) are without injured outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, third baseman Josh Donaldson, closer Aroldis Chapman and reliever Chad Green.

The Yankees also have a height advantage in center field, where the 6-foot-7 Aaron Judge leaped above the wall to rob Shohei Ohtani of a homer in the first inning and the 6-2 Mike Trout came up just short on his diving attempt of an Anthony Rizzo RBI double in a four-run bottom of the first.

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge catches a ball hit by Angels' Shohei Ohtani for an out.
New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge catches a ball hit by Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for an out during the first inning on Tuesday in New York.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Syndergaard threw eight innings of one-run, four-hit ball against the Texas Rangers in his previous start, one in which he did not have a three-ball count. But he sensed when he opened Tuesday’s game with three straight balls to DJ LeMahieu that something wasn’t right.

“I just kind of noticed how tense my upper body was,” Syndergaard said, “and it’s hard to deliver a quality pitch when you’re really tight out there.”

Syndergaard got LeMahieu to ground out but walked Judge on four pitches. Rizzo roped an RBI double into the right-center-field gap beyond the diving Trout. Gleyber Torres hit an RBI double to left-center but was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Miguel Andujar singled, and Matt Carpenter poked a 356-foot, two-run homer over the short porch in right field for a 4-0 lead. Joey Gallo’s single and LeMahieu’s RBI double in the second made it 5-0.

Left-hander Kenny Rosenberg, recalled from triple A on Tuesday, saved the bullpen by throwing five innings in which he allowed four runs and five hits, including Jose Trevino’s two-run homer in the eighth.

“Baseball is just a funny thing,” Syndergaard said. “You can have a really good start, and then six days later, it’s the complete opposite.

“The team has been on a little bit of a skid right now. It would have been nice to come out and turn that around, but I dropped the ball, seriously.”

Shohei Ohtani hits two home runs, but the bullpen can’t keep the lead in the slugfest, giving up five runs in an 11-10 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Could his first start in New York after playing his first seven seasons with the Mets have caused any of the tension Syndargaard felt?

“No, not really,” he said. “City is the same. It’s still an awesome place. I enjoyed my off day [Monday], went to Central Park and played catch with Reid [Detmers], so that was nice.

“I felt good, but I was out there pressing the whole time, feeling tension, trying to throw the ball through a garden hose, as opposed to being free and easy. I was kind of aiming the ball. I fell behind in counts and they capitalized on mistakes.”