There’s simply no getting around the Dodgers’ rich and glorious past that includes six World Series titles, 18 Fall Classic appearances, and an extensive list of baseball’s greatest players such as Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, who have donned that classic uniform.
On the other hand, the Angels have been around since 1961, count infielder Rod Carew, outfielder Reggie Jackson and pitcher Nolan Ryan as Hall of Famers, and claim one World Series banner earned in 2002.
This past weekend at a jammed-packed Angel Stadium, the Dodgers dropped two of three inter-league matches, and have now lost six consecutive series to the Halos, who are 54-38 all-time versus the Dodgers.
Backed by a potent lineup that features recently-acquired free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, the Angels also have rising star Mike Trout, who drove in the go-ahead run with his sixth inning solo homer in Friday’s 8-5 come-from-behind victory, and young outfield slugger Mark Trumbo, who leads the Angels with 17 homers and 49 runs batted in.
The Dodgers staked Chad Billingsley to a five-run cushion after two innings, but he faltered and departed having allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in five innings.
It’s not as though the Dodgers are void of young talent. They have shortstop Dee Gordon, but center fielder Matt Kemp, their best overall player, has been sidelined since late May and likely won’t return until after the All-Star break.
The Dodgers also employ right fielder Andre Ethier, who has 55 RBIs, second best in the National League, with 10 homers.
During Sunday’s 5-3 loss, the Dodgers scored a run in the first inning on a two-out single by Bobby Abreu, and then added a run in the second on Gordon’s grounder.
But it took one swing by Peter Bourjos in the second inning to knot it at 2-2, as he launched a homer to deep left, and it became 3-2 in the fifth when Pujols singled in the 20-year-old center fielder Trout (infield hit), who paces the American League with 21 stolen bases.
The Dodgers tied it at 3-3 on Adam Kennedy’s sacrifice fly in the sixth, but in the seventh, Trumbo’s single plated Pujols (walk), and Howie Kendrick drove in Kendrys Morales (hit by pitch).
The middle game went to the Dodgers 3-1 as Gordon shined with his glove and bat. In the first inning, Gordon singled to right, stole second, and when Jerry Hairston Jr. bounced to Pujols, he opted to nab the speedy Gordon at third base, but the throw hit him, and sent Gordon racing home with the first run.
“This is a big win for us,” said Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly. “We needed this win.”
Hairston reached on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a throwing miscue by third baseman Maicer Izturis.
Kendrick led off the fifth inning with a double to left center, and came around on Erick Aybar’s hit.
Torii Hunter’s two-out liner to center field was hauled in by Elian Herrera, otherwise it would have been a three-run homer.
In the sixth inning, Gordon tripled into the gap in left, and scored on Hairston’s single.
And that’s how it went between these old rivals.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.