I admit it, I’m jealous of the Dodgers. Like the Angels, they are a southern California baseball team that has underachieved this season. What makes me jealous though is that the Dodgers seem to have pulled out of it. They had a pretty rough run during August and saw their playoff hopes start getting shaky, but they managed to address their issues, beat up some bad teams and then swept their rivals. The Angels? Not so much. They got swept by a bad team and then blew their opportunity to sweep the very team that they were chasing.
But my jealousy extends back even further. The Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman, the guy the Angels originally tried to poach to run their front office. Now, the Dodgers are true contenders and the Angels are back on the market for a second-rate GM who is willing to sublimate his own vision and agenda to a power hungry manager and meddlesome owner. Somehow that arrangement is going to have to work to keep the Angels from falling into an abyss of mediocrity. The Dodgers are everything that the Angels should be with twice the payroll.
Game 1: Nick Tropeano vs. Zack Greinke
Well, this seems fair. Shoemaker gets scratched due to a forearm strain so the Halos have to roll out Tropeano. Nothing against Tropeano, but Shoemaker had been dominating since returning from the minors and Tropeano got hit hard the one start he made filling in for Shoe during that minor league stint. Meanwhile, the Dodgers slip in a sixth starter for one turn through the rotation and Tropeano ends up facing Greinke. More importantly, it meant that the Angels drew both Greinke and Kershaw to start off this series. They could’ve escaped just facing one of them, but now they are basically screwed because they have to face both. The Angels just can’t buy a break.
Game 2: Andrew Heaney vs. Clayton Kershaw
Heaney and Kershaw actually squared off about a month ago and it ended up being a decently close game. Heaney was fine, but Kershaw was completely lights out, so the “close game” part was more about Heaney just not getting pounded. The Angels lost by two, but it wasn’t actually even that close. There is little reason to think that a similar fate won’t befall the Angels in this one. This game is such a foregone conclusion I almost don’t know why we don’t just give everyone the day off.
Game 3: Garrett Richards vs. Mat Latos
The best shot the Angels have in this series is against Mat Latos who has been completely awful since joining the Dodgers. Check that, almost completely awful because the one decent start Latos did have for LA was his first start, which came against the Angels because of course it did. Ideally, Garrett Richards should be able to carry the Angels in this one since he’s been pitcher better of late. The dirty little secret of the Dodgers is that while they’ve won 11 of 13, they haven’t been hitting much. They’ve only barely averaged over four runs per game during that stretch, so there’s a real chance at a battle of offensive ineptitude breaking out, which is kind of the Angels’ specialty.