The Los Angeles Angels have dominated the Freeway Series recently, but the Dodgers are hoping that a series at Chavez Ravine might turn the momentum their way.
The Angels and Dodgers resume their rivalry on Friday when they open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
The Angels (48-31) have won nine of the last 11 meetings between the teams, outscoring the Dodgers (36-42) 63-22 in those games. The Angels took two of three in Anaheim May 16-18 in the first series this season, and outscored the Dodgers 14-4 in the two wins.
However, just two of the Angels’ wins over that 11-game stretch have come at Dodger Stadium—they took the final two games of a three-game set there June 15-17 last season. Before that, the Dodgers had won five straight home games against the Angels.
“I think it’s different for the fans, because they say we’re rivals,” catcher Mike Napoli told the Angels’ official Web site. “It gets electric. They get into it.”
Garret Anderson has been especially tough against the Dodgers, batting .315 (70-for-222) with nine homers in 56 career games against them. He was 6-for-12 in the May series in Anaheim.
Even at their home park, the Dodgers could have trouble taking charge in the interleague rivalry. The Angels own the best record in the AL and the best road record in the majors at 26-13.
The Angels had won five straight overall and 10 of 11 on the road before falling 5-4 in Washington on Wednesday. They were no doubt missing slugger Vladimir Guerrero, who sat out because of flu-like symptoms.
Guerrero is batting .290 and leads the team with 13 homers and 43 RBIs.
The Angels hope to have Guerrero back to help support starter Joe Saunders (11-3, 3.03 ERA), who can take over the major league lead in wins. The left-hander, who entered this season with 15 wins, won his second straight start on Saturday, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 6-2 victory at Philadelphia.
“Joe Saunders did a terrific job putting up all the zeros,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ site. “Joe was in the zone early and expanded it when he needed to. He created depth by changing speeds.”
Saunders won his first career start against the Dodgers on May 16, allowing two runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 win. He is 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four career interleague starts, with all three wins coming in his three starts against the NL this season.
The Dodgers will turn to Chan Ho Park (2-2, 2.83), who is getting his second straight start to help out their injury-plagued rotation. The right-hander, normally the Dodgers’ long reliever, went five innings on Saturday, allowing just one run in a 11-inning, 7-2 loss to Cleveland.
Park is 5-7 with a 5.75 ERA in 18 career starts against the Angels. He made a spot start against them on May 17, allowing two runs in four innings of a 6-3 win.
The Dodgers lost for the fourth time in six games on Thursday, falling 2-0 to the Chicago White Sox. They have managed only three runs in their last three losses.
“It’s a tough loss,” outfielder Juan Pierre said. “Their guy pitched good, then they got in the pen and did a good job.”