Dodgers-Angels Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers open their series with the Los Angeles

Angels coming off one of their worst offensive showings in the last

century.

Considering how inconsistent Angels starter Dan Haren has been,

it’s anyone’s guess if the NL West leaders will get things turned

around Friday night.

Facing an Oakland staff that came into this week’s series with

the majors’ 10th-best ERA, the Dodgers (42-28) managed two runs and

eight hits in being swept. The hit total was the franchise’s lowest

in a three-game series dating to 1921.

“We didn’t do enough in any of these games to win any of them,”

manager Don Mattingly said after dropping Thursday’s finale 4-1 on

a walkoff three-run homer. “We didn’t really have guys in scoring

position and you can’t expect to win when you don’t get guys on

base.”

The top three hitters in the Dodgers’ order – Dee Gordon, Elian

Herrera and Andre Ethier – went a combined 2 for 35 without a walk

in the series. Ethier’s struggles are nothing new – he’s batting

.171 in 19 June games, dropping his average 41 points to .283.

He has had some success against Haren (4-7, 3.97 ERA), though,

hitting .386 with two homers and five doubles in 44 career

at-bats.

Like Ethier, Haren is also in the midst of a rough stretch.

The right-hander has yielded nine runs and 18 hits over 11 2-3

innings in his last two starts after posting a 1.29 ERA in his

previous three outings. Prior to that, he had a 5.79 ERA in losing

four in a row, which followed a three-start stretch in which he had

a 1.64 ERA.

“When you get hit around, you don’t feel good. You go home, and

you feel better next time,” Haren told the Angels’ official website

after allowing five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of last

Friday’s 5-0 loss to Arizona. “Just no excuses, really. Got to

minimize the mistakes.”

Haren is no stranger to facing the Dodgers from his time spent

with the Diamondbacks. He has pitched well against the Dodgers

since 2009, posting a 2.47 ERA in a nine starts.

While the Dodgers’ offense is struggling mightily, the Angels’

could be starting to show some signs of life.

The Angels (38-32) plated 18 runs while pounding out 25 hits in

winning their last two games over San Francisco after combing for

14 runs yet still going 4-3 in their previous seven.

The Angels, five games back of AL West-leading Texas, have the

majors’ second-best record since May 22 (20-7), and Mike Trout and

Mark Trumbo have been instrumental to the run. In the last 23

games, Trout is batting .381 with 23 runs and 16 RBIs, while Trumbo

is hitting .341 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Trout, Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo all homered at Chavez

Ravine last week in helping the Angels take two of three. Since

2010, the Angels are 11-4 against the Dodgers, winning all five

series.

A portion of that success has come against scheduled starter

Chad Billingsley (4-5, 3.75), who is 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his

last four starts in the Freeway Series with the Dodgers losing each

time.

Billingsley gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings of a

5-4 loss to the White Sox on Saturday. The righty gave up one run

over seven innings in winning each of his previous two starts –

both on the road.

One hitter who hasn’t enjoyed facing Billingsley is Albert

Pujols. The three-time MVP is 3 for 18 with three walks in their

matchups.