The battle of Los Angeles takes on even more importance as both teams are right in the thick of the playoff chase. The Dodgers have scuffled a bit of late, but they still have the lead in the NL West. The Angels started the season extremely slowly, but they have been quietly playing some terrific baseball over the last few weeks. FOX will have coverage of this one on Saturday evening.
The Dodgers were able to keep winning without Matt Kemp in the lineup for quite a while, but his absence seems to be catching up to the team in the past week. This offense simply isn’t producing the way it needs to for this team to win games right now. The Dodgers scored a grand total of two runs in their three-game series at Oakland this week. This lineup has produced two runs or fewer in 6 of their last 9 games. It seems everyone is slumping at the same time.
Excellent pitching has kept this team at the top of the NL West. The Dodgers pitching staff is second in the majors with a sparkling 3.17 ERA. Chris Capuano should be a candidate for comeback player of the year in 2012. Capuano leads the team with 8 wins and a 2.71 ERA. He struck out 12 batters in a gem last time out against the White Sox.
Don’t look now, but the Angels are 38-32 and just five games out of first place in the AL West. The team was trashed in the media for the first month, but they are taking care of business of late. The Angels have won 9 of their last 12 games. The pitching staff’s brilliance has led the team to their recent hot streak. The Angels have thrown 3 shut outs in their past five games. Ervin Santana is just 4-7 with a 5.16 ERA so far this year. Santana pitched a complete game one hitter in his last outing, so the team is hopeful that he is turning the corner.
The early season struggles of Albert Pujols were well-documented, but he has started to produce of late. Pujols has his average up to .255, and he now has 11 home runs. The offense has received a major boost from rookie Mike Trout. Since he was called up, Trout has been the team’s best offensive player. Trout is hitting .338 on the season, and he has already racked up 19 stolen bases in just 48 games played. Mark Trumbo is hitting .324 with 17 home runs and 48 RBI’s.
MLB Free Pick: Angels ML
The Dodgers offense has been dreadful of late, and the Angels are really hitting stride right now. Capuano has been dominant at home, but he has been hittable on the road. I like the Angels here.