Not surprisingly, not many Angels have hit him well during their careers. Garret Anderson is 3 for 18; Darin Erstad is 5 for 20 with one homer; Vladimir Guerrero is 6 for 30 with two homers. Orlando Cabrera, the Game 2 hero, is an exception, hitting .364 (8 for 22) against Johnson in his career. To make matters worse for the Angels, Johnson is pitching better now than he has all season. He hasn’t lost since Aug. 21, going 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last eight starts. He was 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against the Angels this year, but those starts came during a 10-day period in July. “I think the reports when we saw him in the summer, he wasn’t throwing the ball as well as he’s thrown it down the stretch,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t think there’s anybody that doesn’t see that Randy is throwing the ball to his capability now and it’s come at a great time for the Yankees. “It’s going to be a challenge. He’s a challenge no matter if he has great stuff or not. He’s going out there with great stuff now, and you can see how well he’s pitched recently for those guys.” Johnson went 17-8 with a 3.79 ERA in his first season with the Yankees, signing with George Steinbrenner’s team with one goal in mind to win the World Series. But he heard boos early in the season as he struggled, causing some to wonder if he was finished at age 42. “That’s like comparing (Chone) Figgins and Bengie (Molina) running,” Byrd said of his showdown with the Yankees’ ace. “I’m not going to overpower people, I’m going to change speeds, I’m going to work the corners and try to keep you off-balance. He has more of an intimidating style where he tries to overpower you, and he’s got that really nice complement of a hard fastball and then a nasty slider that breaks at the back leg (of the hitter). It’s as different or contrasting styles as there could possibly be.” Johnson once accidentally killed a bird with a pitch in spring training, but the Angels’ Byrd won’t have to get into the batter’s box like his teammates. Johnson is 15-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 29 career starts against the Angels, mostly while he was with the Seattle Mariners. NEW YORK — Don’t look now, but the “Big Diesel Freight Train’ is fueling up for a head-on collision with the “Little Engine That Could.” Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson is better known as the “Big Unit,” but Angels pitcher Paul Byrd used the locomotive analogy when asked to compare Johnson to himself. The two pitchers with contrasting styles will hook up tonight in the pivotal Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium, with the series tied, 1-1. “Obviously, I’m not happy with the ups and downs that I had, but I think any pitcher out there that didn’t win 17 games would love to have 17 wins. It’s funny that we say I had an off-year, and still won 17 games. “I understand I’m here to get this team over the top, and with that, there’s no making mistakes.” The Angels’ hitters aren’t exactly going into tonight’s game hitting well in the series, regardless of the pitcher, particularly three of their most important bats. Anderson is 0 for 8, Figgins is 0 for 8 and Guerrero is 1 for 6 with a single. Guerrero has only one home run in his past 52 at-bats, going back to Sept. 15. “We need Garret and we need Vlad and we need Figgy to set the tone,” Scioscia said. “You’re not going to have every guy in the lineup swinging the bat well at the same time. But when we talk about the middle of the lineup, especially Garret and Vlad, we absolutely are going to need offense from them if we’re going to get by in this series.” Truth is, neither team has hit well because both teams have pitched well in the first two games. The Angels are hitting .219 as a team, the Yankees .227. The Yankees’ trio of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield are a combined 4 for 21, all four hits being singles. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!