The end of the Los Angeles Angels’ longest road trip of the season is in sight, but the club may have reason to savor its 14th consecutive game away from Anaheim.
The surging Angels will have Jered Weaver(notes) on the mound Sunday with a chance at their first series sweep at Dodger Stadium, where the Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t been swept by anyone in more than two years.
The Angels (35-30) were still recovering from their slow start when they began this trip on May 31, but they’re within a half-game of first-place Texas after winning 10 of the first 13 games.
“It’s a two-week stretch, but we felt we were starting to click so it was our objective to win every game,” left-hander Scott Kazmir(notes) said. “We knew it was going to turn around for us sooner or later. We believe in ourselves and it’s starting to show.”
The team has won 14 of 18 overall, including the first two in the latest edition of the Freeway Series. Following Friday night’s 10-1 blowout win, the Angels won 4-2 on Saturday, thanks in part to Juan Rivera’s(notes) fourth home run of the trip.
The Dodgers (36-26) also dropped the first two games of home series against the Angels in 2004 and 2005, but avoided the sweep each time. No visiting team has left Chavez Ravine with a sweep since Houston did it from May 9-11, 2008.
A lack of clutch hitting has been the biggest problem this weekend, with the Dodgers going 1 for 14 with men in scoring position. They’ve managed 10 hits overall in the last two games, with Andre Ethier(notes), Matt Kemp(notes) and Manny Ramirez(notes) combining to go 0 for 19.
The struggling sluggers will take their swings against Weaver as the right-hander tries to bounce back from one of his worst starts of 2010.
Weaver (5-3, 3.20 ERA) has held opponents to two or fewer runs nine times in 13 starts, but he gave up six runs and a season-high 12 hits in six-plus innings of a 10-1 loss to Oakland on Tuesday.
The southern California native was 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in his first five starts against the Dodgers, but he was roughed up in his last outing against them, allowing six runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-4 home defeat on June 20.
The Dodgers have won all four of Monasterios’ starts, including a 12-4 victory over St. Louis on Monday during which the rookie gave up three runs and four hits in a season-high six innings.
“He’s really stepped up for us and given us a big lift,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “Each game he’s been very consistent. He gets irritated when he walks guys. He continues to improve and goes right at you. That’s his nature.”
He’ll face an Angels lineup that has averaged 6.1 runs over the last 14 games despite the absence of team home run leader Kendry Morales(notes), who will miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg celebrating a walk-off grand slam May 29.