After pumping Clayton Kershaw’s (8-6, 2.51 ERA) tires just two days ago, he was later scratched from his start against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. The Dodgers still went on to win a 10-7 shootout, but you’ll excuse me if I don’t feel like gushing over the three-time Cy Young winner again, ahead of the battle of Los Angeles; when the L.A. Dodgers (57-45, 34-18 Home) host the L.A. Angels (55-46, 23-25 Away), at Dodger Stadium (10:10 PM Eastern).
The Dodgers are just a half of game above the San Francisco Giants in the NL West division, but are poised to run their record up against an Angels’ lineup that struggled in their last three games against the Houston Astros. Not to mention after (probably) Kershaw today, they’ll pitch Greinke tomorrow and newly-acquired righty Mat Latos on Sunday.
The biggest story heading into this game though is the Dodgers bats, as they broke out of a three-game funk in a big way against the A’s. Led by Yasiel Puig’s three RBIs, the Dodgers look back on track after generating just four runs over a three-game stretch.
On the Angels side, center fielder Mike Trout was 0-for-3 in his return after missing two games against Houston with an injured left wrist. He will be available for their games against the Dodgers, but the Angels need a little more from him.
“We had a tough week,” manager Mike Scioscia said to the Associated Press. “We didn’t do a lot of the things we’ve been doing… we need to regroup and start to build momentum again.”
Playing without a DH means that the Angels also won’t be able to use some of their newly added outfielders: Shane Victorino, David Murphy or David DeJesus will spend most of the series watching from the sides.
The Angels will go into tonight’s meeting with left-hander Hector Santiago (7-4, 2.43 ERA) as their starter. Santiago is 3-0 on his last four starts but left his last game against the Texas Rangers after 5.0 innings, allowing five hits and four runs.
Ultimately, even if Santiago has a great night, having Kershaw at the other side of the dugout intimidates even the best. Take the Dodgers to win the first of three LA battles.
Pick: Dodgers (-215).
(Photo Credit: TonyTheTiger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)