Dodgers: Keys to Watch For in the Freeway Series
The Dodgers and Angels will renew their southern California rivalry this weekend as the Dodgers look to continue their success against the Angels. Last year’s season series was tied and the prior three seasons the Dodgers have won two of the past three season series excluding the tie.
The Dodgers and Angels will head into the freeway series going in opposite directions. After a strong start to the season, the Angels are exactly 500 at 44-44 and they are 3-7 in their last ten games. The Dodgers, on the other hand, started the season slumping but have picked it up lately and are now tied in first place in the NL West and are eight games over 500.
Here are the interesting things to watch for in the first weekend of the freeway series:
High Powered Offenses in High Heat
The ball should be flying out of Angel Stadium this weekend as the temperature for all three days of the freeway series is set to be above 90 degrees. The Dodgers rank third in MLB in home runs and the Angels are right behind ranking fifth in home runs. These are top five home run teams and despite the Angels being an all or nothing type team ranked 17th in batting average, they still have plenty of power in their lineup with Trout, Upton, Pujols, and Kinsler.
Maeda Vs. Ohtani
The Dodgers and Angels will square off Friday night but the biggest story of Friday’s game will be Kenta Maeda vs Shohei Ohtani. Since Maeda played in the Central League in Japan, and Ohtani played in Pacific League, their two respective teams did not face each other more than a couple times a season. Ohtani recently returned from the disabled list and while he is not yet ready to pitch, he will likely be the designated hitter for Friday’s game.
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The Dodgers get Trout Fishing
There is no doubt that Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, and he is having possibly the greatest season of his illustrious yet young career. Against the Dodgers, however, Trout is only hitting .195 with two home runs in 41 at-bats. Trout is 1-2 with 2 RBI’s against Kenta Maeda and he has one of his two home runs against the Dodgers, off of Saturday’s starter Ross Stripling. That was against the bullpen version of Stripling though who did not command all four pitches like he is doing as a starter.
Battle of the Average Bullpens
The Dodgers and Angels bullpens have both been average this season. The Dodgers rank 15th in bullpen ERA and the Angels rank 16th. In fact, both teams have very similar bullpen statistics:
Dodgers Bullpen: 3.92 ERA, 244 AVG allowed, 1.32 WHIP
Angels Bullpen: 3.98 ERA, 254 AVG allowed, 1.38 WHIP
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The biggest difference between the two bullpens is that the Angels bullpen has given up fifty home runs while the Dodgers bullpen has given up forty home runs. The Dodgers bullpen has been coming together lately as Daniel Hudson is emerging over the last few weeks and Josh Fields is solid when healthy. If the games come down to a battle of the pens, the Dodgers bullpen should have the advantage if recent trends continue.