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Los Angeles Angels: The Losing Side of the Coin

Halos Falter While City Team Triumphs

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Living in the Los Angeles area, we see remarkable variety in every aspect of life. Whatever your taste might be, you can satisfy it in L.A., one of the most diverse cities in the world.

An example has come straight to the center through the last few days of Major League Baseball.

In the city, we have a team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning games in the most unbelievable ways. It would seem that the Dodgers can't lose. They can, of course, but it seldom happens. The Dodgers have won 40 of their last 48 games.

In Orange County, we have a team, the Los Angeles Angels, pursuing the varieties of competitive agony in whatever new forms it can take. It would seem that the Angels can't win. They can, of course, but it seldom happens. The Angels have lost 17 of their last 24 games.

Living in L.A., being a baseball fan and following both teams, you're never going to be too high or too low. Just when the Dodgers make you high, the Angels bring you down, then the Dodgers pick you back up, only for the Angels to bring you back down.

Just looking at the games played this week, it's hard to imagine a starker contrast between two clubs playing in the same town (although New Yorkers will recognize that much of this also pertains to them).

Aug. 11: The Angels pounced on Cleveland Indians starter Justin Masterson for a 4-0 lead through two innings, and then increased their lead to 5-0 through four. The Angels failed to add on in the fifth and sixth innings, each time squandering runners on first and second with one out. In the bottom of the sixth, Angels starter Jerome Williams gave up four runs in eight pitches, including two-run homers for Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles. The Indians scored two more in the seventh and the Angels lost 6-5.

Later that day, the Dodgers made a hash out of Tampa Bay Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, and Clayton Kershaw allowed one earned run in eight innings on the way to an 8-2 win.

Aug. 12: The Angels wasted a fine start by Garrett Richards, who allowed only two runs in eight innings against the New York Yankees. Through eight innings of offense, the Angels managed only three hits and one walk against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda. The Angels touched the New York bullpen for a run in the ninth when Josh Hamilton doubled in J.B. Shuck. Trailing now 2-1, the Angels loaded the bases with one out and the lead run at second. But David Robertson struck out Mark Trumbo and Chris Nelson, both swinging. Angels lose 2-1.

Later that day, the Dodgers trailed 2-0 going to the bottom of the sixth, and then touched New York Mets starter Jenrry Mejia for three runs. Nick Punto added a homer in the seventh, and the Dodgers won 4-2.

Aug. 13: The Angels scored two in the top of the first against Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia. But Angels left-hander Jason Vargas, pitching for the first time in nearly two months after recovering from a blood clot under his left arm, couldn't hold. Neither could the Angels' bullpen, featuring Joe Blanton, who allowed six runs in two innings. The Yankees stomped on the Angels 14-7, as Alfonso Soriano hit two homers with six RBIs.

Later that day, the Dodgers fell behind 1-0 as the Mets touched Hyun-jin Ryu for a run in the first. With ace pitcher Matt Harvey working, the Mets carried that 1-0 lead to the bottom of the fifth. But that power-packed Dodgers lineup scored two each in the fifth and sixth innings for another 4-2 win.

Aug. 14: Angels ace Jered Weaver entered this game in New York with a 1.72 ERA and a .211 batting average against him in his most recent nine starts, during which he averaged just less than seven innings. Soriano tagged him for a grand slam in the first inning, and Weaver gave up four more runs in the second. Soriano ended the night with two homers and seven RBIs, becoming only the third player to have at least six RBIs in two consecutive games. The Angels lost, 11-3.

Later that day, the Dodgers trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning against the Mets. With one out, pinch-hitter Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer to left field, tying the game 4-4. In the 12th inning, Yasiel Puig legged out a risky one-out double before Adrian Gonzalez doubled him in for the winning run. The Dodgers won again, 5-4, their eighth straight victory.

It's just this week, but it tells a little tale of two Los Angeles teams headed in very different directions.

More from this contributor:

Mike Trout Is Better, but Not MVP Better

Worry No More About Jered Weaver

Albert Pujols Should Sit for Remainder of 2013

Bill Peterson has covered and written about Major League Baseball for more than 30 years in Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Texas and Los Angeles, where he now lives and writes a baseball blog, Big Leagues in Los Angeles. He is a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TheBillPeterson.

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