Dodgers look to avenge loss to rival Angels

LOS ANGELES — There is no real battle for the soul of Los Angeles baseball fans.

The Dodgers and Angels share a location, and even that is a white lie since the latter plays in Anaheim and only adopted “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” for marketing purposes.

There is no cross-pollination. There is a Mason-Dixon Line separating Los Angeles County and Orange County, and fans only cross it at times like this, during interleague play.

The visiting fans got to brag Monday after the first of four interleague games, when the Angels snapped the Dodgers’ 10-game winning streak, posting a 4-0 win at Dodger Stadium.

The two teams don’t seem to be in the same realm in 2017, either. The Dodgers (51-27) have still won 16 of their past 18, and they own the best record in the National League. The Angels (41-39) have been straddling .500 since the season began; they moved two games over Monday for the first time since May 23.

The Dodgers are flush with talent, from veteran ace Clayton Kershaw to rookie Cody Bellinger. They may have as many as eight All-Stars. The Angels are flush with guys who were non-roster players in spring training, and their season seemed flushed for good when outfielder Mike Trout — who might be their only All-Star — tore a thumb ligament.

Yet the Dodgers have just a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West. The Angels are still one of the AL teams in a scrum for wild-card playoff contention. So there is more intrigue to the home-and-home interleague series this week than it appears on the surface.

During the winning streak, Dodgers pitchers allowed three runs or fewer seven times, and the offense scored five runs or more eight times.

“It’s really been unbelievable,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said after a weekend win over the Colorado Rockies. “The pitching has been great, the offense had been fantastic, and we’re playing good defense. You look forward to every game because we’re feeling so confident.”

Without Trout and operating with a fluid pitching staff, the Angels have surprisingly stayed upright. They have won five of their past six series, including series victories over the New York Yankees (twice), the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. The only series loss was to the Kansas City Royals, who apparently are finding their 2015 mojo after a slow start.

“We’ve shown what we’re capable of as a team this season,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve just had a lot of injuries. We’ve had to move guys in and out of the lineup and bullpen all season.”

The opposing pitchers Tuesday are polar opposites. Angels right-hander Jesse Chavez (5-7, 5.15 ERA) is a former reliever who was moved to the rotation out of necessity due to injuries. He has six quality starts in 15 tries this season, and he has allowed a home run in 13 straight games.

Chavez is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 11 career appearances vs. the Dodgers.

Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda (5-3, 4.62 ERA), who was 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA last season in his first year in the United States, lost his spot in the rotation because of what manager Dave Roberts called a lack of focus.

Maeda is getting a spot start Tuesday because Roberts wanted to give his starting pitchers an extra day of rest.

Maeda has faced the Angels once, losing in a four-inning start last year. He got the win in a spot start against the Cincinnati Reds on June 18, allowing five hits and a run in five innings.