The Los Angeles Angels would sit 13.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers if they were in the same division, but the Angels have owned the best team in baseball this season, winning their first three meetings. The fourth and final meeting will be Wednesday night, with the Dodgers hosting their cross-town rivals.
Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Dodgers was the Angels’ third straight victory, though they still sit 11.5 games behind Houston in the American League West. They’re currently five games behind the second Wild Card spot, currently held by the Oakland Athletics. For the Dodgers, Tuesday’s setback snapped a three-game winning streak, though Los Angeles is still comfortably ahead of the rest of the National League West, leading second-place San Francisco by 14.5 games.
The moneyline for this contest has the Los Angeles Angels +175 and the Los Angeles Dodgers -190. The over/under has been set at 9.5.
Hoping For Better
Jaime Barria steps to the mound to start the series finale for the Angels, and he’s hoping for a much better result than his last appearance. Last Friday, Barria entered a scoreless game in the third inning after opener Taylor Cole and proceeded to give up 10 runs on nine hits, including a pair of home runs, and four walks against Seattle. The loss put Barria at 3-3 on the season and raised his ERA to 7.36 (it had been 5.22). Unfortunately, the Dodgers aren’t exactly a forgiving team for a pitcher trying to get himself right.
Offensively, the story for the Angels, as it usually is, is the play of All-Star outfielder Mike Trout. Trout leads the American League in home runs (33), RBI (80), walks (79) and slugging percentage (.666) while ranking third in runs (78) and ninth in batting average (.298). In other words, a one-man show. He came up big in the opener, hitting a 454-foot home run and throwing out the Dodgers’ Max Muncy at the plate. Kole Calhoun also had a big game in the opener, with two doubles, a home run, two RBI and the game-winning outfield assist that nailed Cody Bellinger at the plate to end the game.
Looking For One
The Dodgers would certainly like to get at least one victory against the Angels this season. They have the best record in baseball but don’t want to go winless against their neighbor. Ross Stripling takes the mound for the Dodgers on Wednesday for his 12th start of the season and 26th overall appearance. Stripling has started his last appearances, going 1-1 and going five or fewer innings each time. On the season, Stripling is 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 71 2/3 innings of work.
Offensively, Los Angeles has its own one-man show in Cody Bellinger, who ranks in the top five in the National League in batting average (.333), home runs (34), RBI (77), runs (80), walks (63) and slugging percentage (.689). But what makes the Dodgers so good is that as good as Bellinger is, he’s not a true one-man show. Max Muncy (26 home runs, 69 RBI) and Joc Pederson (23, 49) provide power as well, while Justin Turner seems to come through with clutch hits as well, batting .290 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI.
Dodgers Get Win
It seems crazy that the Angels are unbeaten against the Dodgers this season, even with such a small sample size. Now, without one of their aces on the mound, the Dodgers will try to finally get a victory. Shutting down Trout is a key, but it seems just a matter of time for the Dodgers to break through. I’m taking the Dodgers -190 to finally do it in this game.