The Angels hope to reclaim their place as the best team in Southern California when they take on the rival Dodgers in the opener of the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium.
The Angels have lived in the shadows of the beloved Dodgers since their inception in 1961. But last year, under the direction of longtime Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia, the Angels won their first World Series championship— taking the Fall Classic in seven games from the San Francisco Giants.
“The Dodgers have had many championships and we finally got our first,” Scioscia said of his former team, which has won six World Series titles. “We still have a ways to go before we can boast of that kind of tradition, but hopefully we’re getting there.”
Scioscia was a part of two world championships during his 13-year stint in Los Angeles, winning rings in 1981 and 1988.
“Every time I walk in that place, I get a special feeling,” Scioscia said. “It’s a wonderful place where I experienced a lot of magical moments.
“But there are games at hand that we need to win, so the special feeling doesn’t last very long.”
Anaheim snapped a four-game losing streak with Thursday’s 2-0 win over the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners. Ramon Ortiz pitched 7 2-3 solid innings and Eric Owens hit a solo home run and Shawn Wooten scored on a sacrifice fly by Benji Gil.
Despite the win, the Angels are 12 1/2 games behind the Mariners, which has contributed to their return to relative obscurity.
As one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Dodgers have stolen the Angels’ limelight.
However, Los Angeles’ eight-game winning streak was stopped Thursday in a 2-0 loss to the NL West-leading Giants. The Dodgers are 22-9 since May 14.
Paul Lo Duca went hitless in three at-bats with a walk to snap his 25-game hitting streak—the longest run by a Los Angeles player since Steve Sax had a 25-game streak in 1986. The Dodgers catcher was batting .422 (43-for-102) during the string.
“I didn’t put too much pressure on myself,” Lo Duca said. “I’ll start another (Friday). It ain’t the end of the world, believe me.
“I’m not that upset about it. I’m more upset that we lost.”
STANDINGS: Angels - 3rd place, 12 1/2 GB, AL West. Dodgers - 2nd place, 1 GB NL West.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Jarrod Washburn (6-7, 3.61 ERA). Washburn has allowed 10 runs over 13 innings in losing two straight. The left-hander was reached for seven runs and six hits, including three homers, in Sunday’s 8-0 loss to the New York Mets. Washburn is 0-0 with a 6.16 ERA in six career appearances, including five starts, against Los Angeles.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Hideo Nomo (7-6, 2.64 ERA). Nomo has allowed just two runs and five hits over 14 innings of his last two starts. The Japanese right-hander earned his first win Sunday since tossing a two-hitter in a 6-0 win against Milwaukee on May 24. Nomo yielded one run and two hits over seven innings in the 4-3 win over Cleveland, striking out eight and walking one. Nomo is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in six career starts against Anaheim.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .312 avg., 16 HRs and 63 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 44 runs; Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs. Dodgers - Lo Duca, .332 avg.; Fred McGriff, 10 HRs; Shawn Green, 36 RBIs and 32 runs; Dave Roberts, 23 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Angels - 6-6; Dodgers - 9-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - OF Owens boosted Anaheim’s HR total for June to a major league-leading 31 in 17 games. … 3B Troy Glaus, back in the lineup after a rest day, ended an 0-for-26 skid with a one-out double to center in the seventh. … OF Anderson leads the majors with eight homers and 19 RBIs in interleague play this season. Dodgers - 1B McGriff missed his fifth game because of an injured right groin. His status for Friday’s game remains uncertain. … The Dodgers have held the opposition to three runs or fewer in each of their last nine games. … The Dodgers have had two winning streaks of eight or more games this year for the first time since 1974, when they won the NL pennant. They won 10 straight last month.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 17-20 on the road; Dodgers - 22-15 at home.
INJURIES: Angels - RHP Mickey Callaway (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Dodgers - 1B McGriff (groin), day-to-day; C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.