Baseball’s two L.A. franchises are both sputtering right now. Everyone wanted to anoint the Dodgers as one of the best teams in baseball history early on, but pitching injuries and hitting slumps have cost the reigning World Series champs 13 of their last 17 games. They will travel down the 5 Freeway to visit the Angels, who are in equally dire straits. The Halos have dropped 10 of their last 15 games and sit at the bottom of the AL West. Something has to give this weekend in Anaheim.
The Angels won all four meetings in this series back in 2019.
Dodgers vs. Angels schedule
Game 1: 9:38 p.m. ET, Friday, May 7, SportsNet LA
Pitching Matchup: Julio Urias vs. Griffin Canning
The Dodgers’ pitching surplus has been all but depleted, but the bulk of their fantastic starting rotation remains standing. That includes Urias, who struck out 10 over seven innings to help the Dodgers stop a skid last Sunday. He’ll step into the role of stopper once again on Friday night after the Dodgers were swept by the Cubs earlier this week.
Canning was also impressive in his last time out — 5.1 innings, one unearned run and nine K’s in an Angels win over the Mariners. However, he has a 6.20 ERA this season and has already given up six homers in 20.1 innings this season.
Game 2: 9:07 p.m. ET, Saturday, May 8, SportsNet LA
Pitching Matchup: Clayton Kershaw vs. Dylan Bundy
Kershaw will be looking to rebound from one of the worst starts of his storied career. On Tuesday against the Cubs, the future Hall of Famer had no command of his breaking stuff and threw 39 pitches in a four-run first inning before calling it a day. Those four runs were the second-most Kershaw has ever allowed in the first inning in his career.
Game 3: 4:07 p.m. ET, Sunday, May 9, SportsNet LA, MLBN (out of market)
Pitching Matchup: Trevor Bauer vs. Jose Quintana
Quintana made a start on very short notice on Monday, filling in for an injured Shohei Ohtani. It didn’t go well; the Rays bashed him for five runs in 3.2 innings. It was Quintana’s second straight start in which he allowed five runs and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. He has an unsightly 10.59 ERA.
Game 1: LAD (-159), LAA (+135)
Game 2: LAD (-152), LAA (+130)
Player to watch
There are plenty of Dodger hitters to watch — Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Max Muncy, to name a few — and they are all slumpping right now. Justin Turner has done his part, but if you take out their 16-run outburst at Milwaukee last Sunday, the champs are averaging a skosh more than three runs per over their previous 17 games. Can those stars get on track against a pitching staff that has plenty of weak spots? That will be critical for the Dodgers to win this series.
Mike Trout is the best player of the past decade and is coming off the best month of his incredible career. And yet, when you turn on the Angels these days, he’s not the most fascinating player on the field. That’s Shohei Ohtani, who hit yet another no-doubt home run on Thursday. He has 10 homers on the year, tied with Ronald Acuna Jr. and J.D. Martinez for the MLB lead. Ohtani isn’t scheduled to pitch this weekend, which is a shame, but as a hitter alone, Ohtani remains must-see TV every time he steps into the box.