Preseason Freeway Series Recap
Good pitching and strategic "small ball" dominated the first game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Friday night.
Saturday, however, both teams exhibited their offense to the fullest at Dodger Stadium.
Fans were treated to games that lived up to the expectations, although Dodgers fans may be disappointed with dropping both contests to the boys in red.
For Dodger fans, Friday night was a reassurance of the skills brought to the mound by youngster Clayton Kershaw. He looked sharp in his four innings of work, providing peace of mind for fans and skeptics wondering if the 22-year-old can hold his own.
The Dodgers had the upper hand for the majority of the game, before minor leaguer Justin Miller relinquished the lead. To Miller's credit, after struggling early, he performed well with his back against the wall.
However, an unfortunate error by fellow minor-leaguer Chin-lung Hu, yielded the winning run for the Halos. Hu was reassigned to minor league camp following Sturday's game, along with catcher A.J. Ellis and outfielder Xavier Paul.
Offense was the name of the game for both teams Saturday afternoon in Chavez Ravine. After the Angels jumped out to an early one run lead, the Dodgers countered with three in the next inning. The lead was short lived, as Chad Billingsley struggled.
The back breaker for the Dodgers' starter was a grand slam hooked down the right field line off the bat of Angels' first baseman Kendry Morales. Billingsley later admitted throwing a breaking ball that just hung out over the plate.
All six runs scored by the the Halos were charged to Billingsley, who exhibited some late Spring rust.
Manager Joe Torre was confident before the game in Billingsley, saying this was simply a final tune up for his pitcher and a time for fans to enjoy the rivalry.
When asked if Torre was concerned with beating the Angels, Torre instead focused on his team's performance.
"I don't concern myself with the record as much as I do with how we play," countered Torre. The skipper mentioned his players have been anticipating this season for a few weeks now and are more focused on mechanics and routines than their preseason record and the Angels.
Another area of concern that was filled was Torre's decision to retain pitchers Jeff Weaver, Ramon Ortiz, and Carlos Monasterios. Each pitcher performed well in their brief appearances.
The feel from the stands was renewed confidence and team pride. In fact, both games had the atmosphere of mid-season competition.
Garret Anderson showed why he was able to earn a spot off the bench, doubling in his first at-bat in his return to Angel Stadium as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although the games didn't count, the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Angels means something to every fan in Southern California, and the games being on the weekend before opening day added to the excitement.
When the curtains come up on Monday, both Blue and Red, Los Angeles and Los Angeles of Anaheim will be alive and ready.
Both teams looked to be poised for another playoff run. Dodgers and Angels fan alike should be confident their teams will find themselves near the top of the division as the playoffs near.
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