A World Series preview, perhaps?
That is a question that will be asked roughly a million times this week and I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic. This is one of the few times since interleague play began that both the Dodgers and Angels are legitimate contenders.
Does that really matter though? I mean, do we really care if there is a Freeway World Series?
There is no real rivalry between these teams. The fans may not like each other all that much (and, honestly, I think it is pretty one-sided with Angels fans not like Dodgers fans), but that isn’t a rivalry. There is no real battle for supremacy in LA baseball, save for maybe in Arte Moreno’s mind.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be interesting from a geo-centric standpoint, but I don’t think there is any real burning desire to see which team stands supreme over the other. Nobody is really even playing up the Trout vs. Puig thing either. It just isn’t really a rivalry, sorry.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. DODGERS…
The Freeway Series has largely been dominated by the Angels who lead with 56-40 record. The Dodgers haven’t won the season series since 2006, but they even things up the last few years, literally. The teams split the series in 2012 and 2013.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
Oh the timing of having to face the Dodgers and open the series with our old friend Zack Greinke. Right in the midst of the Angels rotation starting to fall into shambles, the ace that got away comes back to haunt the Halos. He won’t be in the Big A to give us the full experience, but Greinke has been great this year and that won’t be lost on the Angels faithful. He’s exactly what the Halos need right now. Instead we’ve got Josh Hamilton, for some reason.
It isn’t all bad though, the Dodgers are stuck with Dan Haren, too. He’s just terrible now, so I guess it cancels out the Greinke pain a little bit.
MONDAY, 8/4: Garrett Richards vs. Zack Greinke
Richards hasn’t faced the Dodgers much, but has had a strangely difficult time with Dee Gordon. More importantly, Richards hasn’t been that good lately. If he wants to best Greinke, he best figure out what he’s been doing wrong.
Despite his ace-ish numbers, Greinke has been quite vulnerable to Angels bats. Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar have both raked against him. The only reason his overall numbers aren’t worse is because Josh Hamilton is an appalling 1-for-22 with 9 Ks against Greinke. I mean, yeesh. This would be a good night to give Hamilton a rest, despite the lack of DH.
He hasn’t taken him deep, but Pujols has an incredibly impressive line against Kershaw. I can’t believe anyone in history has ever hit Kershaw that well. Chris Iannetta is the only Angel to ever take Clayton deep, however. This will be the first time Mike Trout ever faces Kershaw, so you’ll definitely want to see that. It isn’t often the best hitter and best pitcher in the world get to square off.
Haren has been solid against the Angels, but Haren also used to be good. Even with his decent overall numbers, the top Angels hitters have had modest success against him, which bodes well since Haren sucks now, as I might’ve mentioned a time or two already.
THURSDAY, 8/7: C.J. Wilson vs. Hyun-jin Ryu
This could get ugly. I mean uglier, I guess. Wilson’s been a disaster of late as it is, but his history against the Dodgers hitters is poor. Adrian Gonzalez really has his number and Hanley Ramirez is off to a good start. You might want to make other plans for Thursday night, just in case.
Ryu has little history with Angels batters other than Freese going 3-for-5 off of him last year.
I foresee another split. That might even be wishful thinking given the state of the Angels’ rotation, but I think they’ll pull it off.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
C.J. Wilson will actually make it through five innings of work in his outing.