The two inner-city interleague series in the nation’s two biggest markets have usually been dominated by the American League clubs.
Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, the Angels have generally had the Dodgers number in the Freeway Series. The Angels hold a 52-37 edge over the Dodgers since interleague play began in 1997 and have won five straight series since 2009.
Fans may want to enjoy this last weekend of interleague play because it won’t be quite as special going forward. The Houston Astros are moving from the NL Central to the AL West next season, and having 15 teams in each league will require at least one interleague game every day (excluding days off, obviously).
So the novelty may wear off.
Dodgers at Angels Betting Story Lines
The Halos entered May with a record of 8-15 but have since resembled the club many expected upon entering the season. They are now at 38-32 and right at the top of the AL wild-card standings (but still five games behind red-hot Texas in the AL West). The Angels have won four straight series, and that includes taking two of three from the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine earlier this month.
Pitching dominated that series, as there were only 15 total runs scored in the three games.
Entering Thursday’s series finale at Oakland, the Dodgers have the best record in the NL. But they haven’t played great lately, losing five of eight, including the first two games of their series against the punchless A's. The team is really starting to miss the injured Matt Kemp, as it has scored just three runs in their past three games entering Thursday.
If you want one reason to tune into the Angels-Dodgers series—the Angels Mike Trout.
With all due respect to Washington’s Bryce Harper, Trout is the most dynamic rookie in baseball. He is hitting .395 in June and is up to .338 for the season, which is second in the American League. His .355 average since the start of May leads the AL.
Trout also has six homers, 28 RBI, 40 runs and 19 steals. He is the first Angels rookie with two four-hit games since David Eckstein in 2001. If not for Trout's call-up, this team might still be in last place. It was 6-14 before he showed up and is 32-18 since. In the last series, the Dodgers held Trout in check for the most part, limiting him to three hits in 13 at-bats (.231), though he did have a homer.
Meanwhile, it looked for a time there that Albert Pujols had figured things out.
But even with a two-hit (including a homer), four-RBI game Tuesday against the Giants, Pujols is hitting just .143 over the past week. He was 5-for-12 with an RBI in the earlier series vs. the Dodgers. It’s looking like Pujols' numbers won't get him into the All-Star game, held this year in Kansas City, his hometown.
It would be only the third time in his career Pujols has been left out of an All-Star Game.
Dodgers at Angels Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Dodgers LHP Chris Capuano (8-2, 2.71) vs. Angels RHP Dan Haren (4-7, 3.97)
Capuano faced the Angels on June 11 and got a no-decision, allowing two runs and eight hits while walking four in five innings. After a great start, he has come back to earth this month with a 4.24 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.
Haren, who didn’t face the Dodgers in the previous series, has been roughed up his past two times out, allowing a combined nine runs and 18 hits (five homers) in 11.2 innings. He is 5-5 with a 3.27 ERA vs. the Dodgers in his career.
Saturday: Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley (4-5, 3.75) vs. Angels RHP Ervin Santana (4-7, 5.16)
Billingsley allowed five runs and eight hits over six innings last time out in a loss to the White Sox, his first defeat of June. He didn’t face the Halos in the previous series but is 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA vs. the Angels since 2009.
Santana has been the weak link of the Angels rotation thus far, despite throwing a complete-game one-hitter vs. Arizona in his last outing. Before that, he had given up seven runs in each of his previous two starts. He is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA vs. the Dodgers in his career but missed pitching against them a few weeks ago.
Sunday: Dodgers RHP Aaron Harang (5-4, 3.76) vs. Angels RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 0.86)
Harang faced the Angels on June 12 and got a no-decision, allowing two runs (none earned) and six hits in seven innings. But he was awful on Tuesday, getting yanked after 3.2 innings vs. Oakland after allowing three runs and a whopping eight walks.
Richards was a godsend for the Halos when ace Jered Weaver went on the DL. It was thought that with Weaver now back that Richards might get sent back down so he could keep starting, but with Jerome Williams now on the DL, Richards stays in the bigs.
He allowed one earned run in five innings vs. the Dodgers on June 11.
Dodgers at Angels Betting Odds and Trends
I project the Angels to be around -150 series favorites. For Game 1, the Halos will likely be between -130/-140 favorites with the total at 8.5. Because it’s possible that Capuano and Billingsley could switch days, there was no early opening line.
The Dodgers are 17-15-1 ‘over/under’ in road games (not counting Thursday), while the Angels are 14-22 O/U at home.
The Dodgers (all trends entering Thursday) are 8-3 in their past 11 road games vs. a right-handed starter. They are 11-3 in their past 14 road games vs. a team with a winning record. The Dodgers are 2-6 in their past eight openers of a series.
The Angels are 5-0 in their past five games vs. a lefty starter. They are 6-1 ATS in their past seven home games vs. teams with a winning road record. The Halos are 1-8 in Haren’s past nine starts at home.
The under is 6-2 in the Dodgers’ past eight interleague games and 7-2 in the Angels’ past nine vs. the AL. The Dodgers are just 8-21 in their past 29 games when visiting the Angels.
MLB Picks: Dodgers at Angels Betting Predictions
It's hard to glean much from the pitchers here as five of the six are pretty inconsistent. Also, Richards has only 35 big-league innings under his belt so he could be due for a rude awakening any time.
But the Angels have owned this series, especially at home. And I trust Haren much more than Capuano or Billingsley, so go with the Angels in the opener and the over.
The Halos have won six consecutive interleague series at home overall.
Let's make it seven.