It will be a battle of second-place teams as the Angels and Yankees meet at Yankee Stadium in the opener of a three-game series. Bring the umbrellas just in case. There’s a 50 percent chance of rain with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the 70's.

Dan Haren (12-6, 2.81 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Halos who start the night 1 ½ games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Haren is 2-0 is his last three starts giving up just three runs in his past 24 2/3 innings of work. The former Pepperdine star will be making his first 2011 appearance against the Yankees (69-44) as he looks to improve on a 4-1 career record. Haren has been a model of consistency this year going 6-3 on the road and 6-3 at home.

AJ Burnett New York Yankees World Series

Arms race

Pitching has carried the Angels (63-51). They plated only four runs in three weekend games against the Mariners but still managed to win 2 of 3. In their last 10 combined starts, Haren, Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver are a combined 8-1 with a 1.03 ERA in their last 10 starts.

A.J. Burnett (8-9, 4.54 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Burnett is suffering through another inconsistent season but he’s at least healthy and thus he’ll pitch. Burnett is coming off his worst outing of the year last Wednesday in Chicago when he gave up seven runs and 13 hits in a game the Yankees won 18-7. Thanks to the powerful Yankees offense Burnett came away with no-decision. It marked the 15th in 23 outings that New York’s right-hander has failed to give NY a quality start of at least six innings while allowing three runs or fewer.

Tonight’s game opened as a virtual pick but the money line is now favoring NY at -114 with the total holding at 8.5.

The Natural

Rookie Mark Trumbo, he of the prodigious home runs, leads Anaheim with a .261 average, 22 homers and 63 runs batted in. Trumbo, who struck a 471 foot shot in Sunday’s win over Seattle, is setting the pace in every major offensive category for the Angels. He’s been much more than a capable fill in for Kendry Morales who continues his recovery from a broken leg suffered during a home plate celebration last season. It’s possible and even likely that if and when Morales returns it will be as a DH and not at a first base where Trumbo has taken the job.

Last add Trumbo; His 471 ft. home run was the longest ever hit in the history Anaheim Stadium but trails the 475 ft. blast that he hit in Minnesota earlier this season.

West Coast hitting slump

The LA Times Sports department had a story recently that that pointed out the hitting woes of every team on the West Coast. The four-lowest scoring teams and six of the bottom ten all reside west of the Rockies.

Seattle was averaging a major league-worst 3.35 runs per game through Thursday, nearly a run below the league average of 4.23. San Diego ranked second-to-last with 3.46 runs, followed by San Francisco (3.51) and the Dodgers (3.64). Oakland (3.83) was seventh-worst and the Angels (3.90) 10th-worst. Maybe the respective General Managers will take notice of those MLB stats and address the problems during the off-season.

The Yankees offense has no such problems. They’re second behind the Red Sox in virtually every category except home runs. The Yanks are second in run per game (5.34), second in steals (116) and seventh in hitting (.265).

The Angles took two of three in May against the Yankees who have 11 of the last 14 games in New York and are currently on a 9-2 run.

Harvey’s Take: Haren against Burnett seems like a mismatch and I’m not sure either will be around at the end of the game. The Yankees pen is superior to the Halos and I think that’s where the game will be won or lost. I’m making a small play on the Yankees and a bigger one on the ‘under’.

Good Luck!

Thanks to the LA Times.