Dodgers aim to pick up speed in Freeway Series vs. Angels

MLB

The Los Angeles Dodgers and their high-profile, trade-deadline additions will play host this weekend to the Los Angeles Angels and their injury-depleted roster in a three-game series that begins Friday night.

The matchup could turn out to be more competitive than one might think.

The Dodgers are the eight-time defending National League West champs, while the Angels are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Recent head-to-head games, however, provide mixed signals.

Since the start of the 2016 season, the Angels have a 14-13 advantage in the matchup known as the Freeway Series. The Angels also are 2-1 in the season series in 2021, with the one defeat showing how pesky they can be.

The Dodgers held a 13-0 lead through five innings on May 8 before the Angels scored 11 runs in the next two frames. The Dodgers held on for a 14-11 victory.

The Dodgers enter this series off a highly charged two-game split against the Houston Astros.

For all of their resources, and their ability to recently add Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Cole Hamels and Danny Duffy, the Dodgers are just 7-9 since July 18. But they are getting stronger, not only with their trade haul, but with the return of Mookie Betts and Corey Seager from the injured list.

Scherzer, who made his Dodgers’ debut in Wednesday’s 7-5 victory over the Astros, saw firsthand what makes his new team tick.

“The Dodgers … we have a deep lineup,” he said. “Guys up and down the line can grind you apart, and when you make mistakes, they make you pay.”

The Dodgers will send left-hander David Price (4-1, 3.55 ERA) to the mound Friday. In 18 career starts against the Angels, he is 7-7 with a 3.28 ERA. Since 2018, Price is 2-0 vs. them in three starts, with a 1.38 ERA.

The Angels will counter with lefty Patrick Sandoval (3-5, 3.38), who will be just two outings removed from a near no-hitter on July 24 at Minnesota. Sandoval, who has given up just one run in each of his past two starts, is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA in three career outings (two starts) against the Dodgers.

Without Mike Trout (calf injury), Jared Walsh (chest/side) and Anthony Rendon (hip), the Angels are relying on talented young players such as Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh and Jack Mayfield.

Even with Shohei Ohtani’s power at their disposal, the Angels used a more complete brand of baseball to win three consecutive games at Texas this week.

In Thursday’s 5-0 victory, the Angels moved over runners, forced the Rangers into two throwing errors, got a stolen base from David Fletcher and a bunt single from Adam Eaton three innings after he hit a home run.

“If you can do those small things correctly, it’s gonna help the ballclub win as well as help (the young players’) careers,” Eaton said on the team’s Bally Sports West broadcast. “I think this style that we’re playing right now, three-run homers are still there, but we have to do the small things right in order to manufacture runs.”

–Field Level Media

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