Dodger baseball is finally returning to Southern California. We leave the cactus and Camelback Ranch behind until next Spring, and now we begin to focus in on the task at hand. The regular season is upon us. There is just one final exhibition series before the Dodgers take the field for the first game of the 2012 regular season down in San Diego on Thursday afternoon. The historic Freeway Series returns in its intended form which is traditionally a three-game Spring Training finale series between crosstown rivals the Angels and the Dodgers.
In recent years the meet ups between the Angels and Dodgers during midseason interleague play has been incorrectly called a Freeway Series. This has somewhat irked me.
The Angels have had a very good Spring, and they have a 17-10 record thus far. Albert Pujols is hitting .407 in the 20 games he has played in. He has 22 hits in 54 at bats including 7 doubles, 6 homeruns, and 17 RBI. Luckily we will be facing him much less this season now that he is on an American League team.
The three Angel pitchers scheduled to oppose the Dodgers during the series are collectively undefeated this Spring.
The Freeway Series will open at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and the Dodgers will send Jamey Wright (0-1) to the mound to go against the Angels’ Dan Haren (2-0). Wright, who battled out his non-roster invitee teammate John Grabow for a spot in the bullpen, is filling in for Ted Lilly while he is dealing with his rusty neck. The first pitch will be at 7:05 pm, and the game will be televised on FOX Sports West. All games from this point on will be broadcast on the Dodgers’ radio network 570 FOX Sports L.A.
Tuesday night, the 2012 Dodgers will debut at Dodger Stadium for the first time this season. The game begins at 7:10 pm, and the game will be televised on KCAL. Vin Scully will be announcing this game, so don’t forget to tune in! Aaron Harang (1-1) will go up against Ervin Santana (1-0).
Wednesday evening will be the final exhibition game of the Spring for the Dodgers and Angels, and they will take the field at 12:10 pm. The game will be televised on FOX Sports West. Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) will pitch against Angel C.J. Wilson (3-0). They will depart to San Diego afterwards for Opening Day.
For some reason it has already been decided that the games will go exactly nine innings. That means even if the home team is winning, they will bat in the bottom of the ninth inning. If it is a tie, they will not play extra innings. It’s sure interesting how they make up the rules as they play during Spring Training.
The Dodgers are bringing 11 minor leaguers to Los Angeles for the Freeway Series in order to give some rest to their starters before the regular season commences. Pitchers Shawn Tolleson, Fernando Nieve, Will Savage, Logan Bawcom and Angel Sanchez; infielders Jeff Baisley and Luis Nunez; outfielders Blake Smith and Jonathan Garcia; and catchers Griff Erickson and Matt Wallach will be available to play in the three games.
The Dodgers and Angels have been pitted against each other twice this Spring. The Dodgers won 9-1 back on March 12th, and on March 18th the game ended with a 1-1 tie.
Let’s beat those Halos, Go Blue!