A group of Dodgers and Angels, including Yasiel Puig, (2nd from left), Mike Trout (3rd from left), and Albert Pujols (2nd from right), exchanging pleasantries before a game. Photo courtesy of latimes.com
ANNUAL FREEWAY SERIES: LOS ANGELES DODGERS vs LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM
Dates: June 26-27 at Dodger Stadium, June 28-29 at Angel Stadium
Times (all games): 7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports West, Spectrum Sports Net LA
Cameron Maybin, a significant reason why the Angels haven’t tanked as he’s the American League’s stolen base leader. Photo courtesy of zimbio.com
TALE OF THE TAPE
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Record: 40-39, 3rd place in the American League West (by one percentage point), 13 games behind the Houston Astros
What The Angels Have Done Lately: Won two out of three games from both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, AL elites who are 1-2 in the East division, on their just concluded road trip
Most Recent Game: Beat the Red Sox, 4-2, at Fenway Park on June 25th
Mike Trout, CF (on DL) – .337 average, 16 HR, 36 RBI
Albert Pujols, DH/1B – .239 average, 11 HR, 51 RBI
Andrelton Simmons, SS – .280 average, 7 HR, 33 RBI
Cameron Maybin, LF/CF – .264 average, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 23 SB (leads AL)
J.C. Ramirez, P: 7-5, 4.38 ERA
Bud Norris, RP (on DL): 2-1, 2.43 ERA, 11 saves
Highlights of the Angels’ latest triumph: a 4-2 decision over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Courtesy of YouTube.
A Few Comments:
Even though I still strongly feel that they need to change their uniforms to what they wore in the 1980s & early 90s, or when they first began their existence in the 1960s,
Which is the main factor to why I’m not as big a fan of them as I could be,
Those Angels have earned the utmost respect from me due to their not folding after Mike Trout tore his thumb, which has kept him out for the past month though he’s optimistic that he can return before the All-Star break in a couple of weeks.
Two words describe these Halos in 2017:
Their pitching is lacking, key guys on that staff like Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs can’t seem to pitch without suffering significant injuries,
To illustrate the Angels’ futility on the mound, Ricky Nolasco, a mainstay in their starting rotation, is 2-9 with an ERA over five.
But they are over .500 as of this writing because of their Rocky Balboa-like mentality, Cameron Maybin and Eric Young Jr. – who was called up when Trout went down – providing some much needed spark,
And just plain guts.
As a result, they are in the hunt for a Wild Card!
I have the feeling that these Angels are not a team that you would want to face when the stretch run comes…
Cody Bellinger, the National League’s home run leader and sure-fire Rookie of the Year, quite possibly by unanimous vote. Photo courtesy of belacherreport.com
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Record: 51-26, 1st place in the National League West, two and a half games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks
What The Dodgers Have Done Lately: Winners of their last ten games, sweeping the New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies in the process.
Most Recent Game: Beat the Rockies, 12-6, at Dodger Stadium on June 25th after spotting them a 5-0 lead
Justin Turner, 3B – .393 average, 5 HR, 28 RBI
Corey Seager, SS – .298 average, 12 HR, 39 RBI
Cody Bellinger, OF/1B – .274 average, 24 HR (leads NL), 55 RBI
Yasiel Puig, RF – .247 average, 14 HR, 41 RBI
Clayton Kershaw, P: 11-2, 2.47 ERA, 123 Ks, 18 BB (Leads MLB in wins, #2 in NL in ERA & strikeouts)
Alex Wood, P: 8-0, 1.86 ERA
Kenley Jansen, RP: 4-0, 0.83 ERA, 52 Ks, 1 walk, 17 saves
Highlights of a very exciting 12-6 comeback win by the Dodgers in their last outing. Courtesy of YouTube.
A Few Comments:
These Dodgers are on absolute fire!!
With a ten-game winning streak – not to mention being one of only two teams in major league baseball with at least 50 wins (the Astros are the other) – I double dog dare anyone to dispute that!
I honestly cannot remember the last time this team has been on such a roll.
You know things are going well when your relief ace, who has walked but one person all season to date, makes noise at the plate as well as sixty feet, six inches from it as he hit a double yesterday against the Rockies, which drove in a run to boot!
And you know things are going well when your MVP of the season so far is a rookie who didn’t even start the season as a Dodger as Cody Bellinger was called up a few weeks in.
As sure as I’m writing this, Bellinger will be named the National League’s Rookie of the Year around the first or second week of November.
In fact, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win it by a unanimous vote.
I only hope he stays consistent as July and August approach, because you know the rest of the league’s pitchers will adjust to him.
Another big factor in L.A’s success, outside of Kershaw, Jansen, Bellinger, etc…
Two Words: Alex Wood.
This lefty has become the perfect number two starter behind Kershaw as with his undefeated record and sub-2.00 earned run average, he’s a big illustration of the Dodgers’ rise to the top of the standings.
The Angels’ Kole Calhoun (#56) scoring as he slides past the Dodgers’ catcher. Photo courtesy of newsday.com
OK, Here’s My Prediction Of How The Freeway Series Will Go:
I’m expecting a hard-fought four games, particularly in Anaheim as the Angels’ gutty, scrappy, nothing-to-lose play will give their Dodger rivals a battle.
But let’s face it; those Dodgers are just too hot right now.
And Dave Roberts’ guys have the edge almost everywhere, especially on the mound.
Which is why I’m going to say that the team wearing blue will win three of four.
You heard it here first…
A Dodger with a hard-nosed slide into second base with an Angel applying the tag. Photo courtesy of gentlemensguideoc.com