Notes: This Cab knows New York
Cabrera got a taste of Yankee Stadium in postseason in 2004
NEW YORK -- The last thing the Angels wanted was to be in an 0-2 hole when the series shifted to Yankee Stadium, and they got their wish by rallying from a two-run deficit to win Game 2.
Orlando Cabrera, who got a taste of the New York atmosphere last October when the Red Sox pulled off what appeared to be the impossible by winning four straight games in the American League Championship Series after trailing 0-3, said it's like playing nowhere else.
"It is different baseball when we play here," Cabrera said. "The intensity is way too high."
But last year's experience proved invaluable for Cabrera, who not only believes a team can overcome the mystique of playing in the storied venue, but the Angels are built to do just that.
"It is a team that doesn't have many stars and big names, but we can go out and win," Cabrera said.
The Angels shortstop said it's important that he and leadoff man Chone Figgins get on base to let the middle of the order produce behind them, but the strength of the club is on the mound.
"I know that if we score runs, we are going to win because we have good pitching and defense," Cabrera said. "We've always had the pitching and we've always had the defense. All we have to do is score runs and get hits. But it is not that easy."
Shuffle: The Angels have struggled offensively so far in the AL Division Series and, with Randy Johnson on the hill in Game 3, manager Mike Scioscia made some adjustments to try to find a little more production.
Vladimir Guerrero moved up to the third in the batting order with Bengie Molina taking over the cleanup spot. Garret Anderson dropped to fifth and Juan Rivera moved up to sixth. It was only the second time that Molina batted cleanup; the last time was Sept. 29 at Oakland.
"With Randy Johnson, it is important for us to get to get not only a right-handed bat before Vlad but elsewhere in the lineup, too," Scioscia said. "Bengie has been swinging the bat well and also this will take a little pressure off Garret."
Anderson entered Friday's game hitless in eight at-bats in the series before drilling a three-run homer in his first at-bat Friday, while Molina is 3-for-8 with two homers. Anderson has been nursing a sore back over the last two months of the season and Scioscia is looking for something to help him recover his swing.
"Garret doesn't get out of his game too much and start to press, but it can't hurt to move some guys around," Scioscia said.
Surprising success: Johnson holds a 15-6 record in 29 career starts against the Angels and a number of hitters on the club have struggled against the left-hander. Guerrero entered Friday's game hitting .200 against Johnson while Anderson is 4-for-19 against the left-hander.
But Cabrera entered Friday 8-for-22 in his career against Johnson, most of that when they both played in the National League.
"He used to tip his pitches a lot, but he threw so hard," Cabrera said. "In Montreal, we just let the slider go and hit the fastball. But when he started throwing the split, it was a different look."
Cabrera said that Johnson held his glove more closed on the fastball and more open on the slider, but also said the addition of a split-finger and a sinker to right-handers has made him tougher to read and is particularly tough when feeling well.
"He pitches really well when he is well rested and he is well rested," Cabrera said.
Growth: Jarrod Washburn is the Angels scheduled pitcher in Game 4, the left-hander's first appearance in the series. Washburn won eight games this season, his fewest since he went 7-2 for the Angels in 14 starts in 2000 and a big drop from his 18-6 mark in 2002, when the club won the World Series.
A combination of poor run support and tendinitis in his left elbow prevented Washburn from building on his win record, but a 3.20 ERA, fourth lowest in the AL, showed that Washburn took a great step in maturing from just a thrower and into a pitcher.
"I think I am a better pitcher than I was then. Won/loss record I think doesn't tell the whole story," Washburn said. "You know, as far as in 2002 when I won 18 games, I was basically just a fastball pitcher and I reared back and said, 'Here it is, hit it.' "
Washburn has added a splitter, slider and changeup to the mix and said his command has improved on all four pitches.
"It's a constant learning process out there on the mound and I think my stuff is getting better and I'm getting a little smarter, too," Washburn said.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.