(AP) — 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 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 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 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, Matt Kemp and Manny Ramirez combining to go 0
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.
Weaver’s brother, Jeff, started for
the Dodgers and got the win in that game. Jeff Weaver is 3-1 with a 3.63
ERA in 22 relief appearances for the Dodgers this year.
Carlos Monasterios (3-0, 2.27)
started the year in the bullpen for the Dodgers, but with the club in
need of reinforcements for its rotation, the right-hander has answered
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, who will miss the rest of the season
after breaking his leg celebrating a walk-off grand slam May 29.
Howie Kendrick is 5 for 10 with two
doubles and a homer in this series and has 17 RBIs in his last 13 games.