Angels-Dodgers Preview

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

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.

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 call.

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.