The Dodgers had a lot more trouble against the last-place Cubs than what was anticipated. After disappointing starts from Dan Haren and Josh Beckett, the Dodgers lost two of three to Chicago and let Chris Coghlan and company upstage their first-place lineup. The Dodgers not only lost the series, but they suffered injuries to some key players as well. Paul Maholm, the long-man out of the bullpen and spot starter, is lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his knee. With the Dodgers’ backend of the rotation on shaky terms and the middle relievers in their bullpen continuing to allow late-inning walks and runs, the Dodgers need to find balance in order to defend their NL West crown.
The pitching wasn’t the only part of the Dodger roster which fell short in the Chicago series, but the offense once again missed out on numerous scoring opportunities. The Dodgers are dead last in the league when hitting with the bases loaded (.159 batting average). They’ve only collectively had 11 hits with the bases loaded all season. Interestingly enough, the Angels too have failed to rally with the bases loaded, and they are hitting .237 as a team which is 13th in the American League. As you can see, that is still significantly better than the Dodgers with the bases loaded
Zack Greinke will be taking on his former team on Monday night in the series opener against the Halos. The quirky right-hander has pitched stupendously for the Dodgers this season. Last time out against the Braves, Greinke wasn’t involved in the decision but pitched well enough for the win going 8 innings and allowing just 1 run on 5 hits while striking out a season-high 13 and walking 1. Greinke has had some trouble against the Angels in the past. He is 1-4 with a 4.10 ERA against them in 9 career games (8 starts). Greinke will have to be wary of the usual slugging culprits. Mike Trout has only 3 at-bats against him, but he has already has 2 hits including a triple versus Greinke. Erick Aybar is hitting .421 versus Greinke with 8 hits including 5 doubles in 24 plate appearances.
Garrett Richards is having a great season with the Angels, but he has hit a bump recently. The Angels have lost the last three starts Richards has made. Last time out against Baltimore, Richards pitched 7 innings and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits. Garrett has allowed 8 earned runs over his last two starts, so he will be looking to bounce back against the Dodgers on Monday. Garrett has only made one start at Dodger Stadium in his career, and he has no record against the Dodgers and a 2.63 ERA in 4 games (2 starts). Most of the current Dodgers have yet to face Richards including Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp. Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier have the most hits against the righty, and Gordon has 4 hits against him in 7 plate appearances.
Prediction: Dee Gordon, fresh from a much-needed day off, has a multi-hit game with a stolen base.
I refuse to refer to the Angels as the Los Angeles Angels. They play in Orange County! I think a better moniker would be the Orange County Trouts of Anaheim. The Angels are currently 1 game behind the A’s in the AL West, but they have the second-best record in the AL. The Angels will be a tough competitor as always. The Dodgers overall record against the Angels is 40-56. Although the regular season showdown between the two So Cal rivals has been recently dubbed the “Freeway Series,” I still consider the true Freeway Series the exhibition series between the two ball clubs which preludes Opening Day. Nevertheless, it is sure to be an exciting series between the two teams which will feature two of the best young players in the game with Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout.