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Here Come The Angels

The Dodgers and Angels have an interesting rivalry.  Because the two clubs are in separate leagues, there are several Dodger fans who also root for the Angels, and vice versa.  However, there is some animosity there as well.

  • The Angels of course have Mike Scioscia, the man who was groomed to be a manager in the Dodger organization after a long Dodger playing career, as their manager.  This is a particularly sore point for Dodger fans, especially since Scioscia has led the Halos to five playoff appearances and one World Series win in his nine-year run at the helm.
  • Even though they play in Anaheim, their owner Arte Moreno claimed Los Angeles as his own, created the most convoluted team name in professional sports
  • Their coaching staff, under former Dodger Scioscia, has three former Dodgers

On the field, the Dodgers have lost 33 of their last 50 encounters with Los Angeles of Anaheim, and haven't won a season series -- they play six times per year -- since 1999.  Let's take a look at this year's Angels

2009 Angels
Record 20-19, 2nd, 3 GB
Runs Scored/Gm     
4.90 (9th in AL)
wOBA .336 (15th in MLB)
OPS+ 97
Runs Allowed/Gm 4.92 (9th in AL)
FIP 4.47 (15th in MLB)
ERA+ 102
Pythag Record 19-20

The Angels' starting pitchers, despite missing significant time from Ervin Santana, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, and of course the tragic death of Nick Adenhart, have really produced.  Angels' starters have a 3.93 ERA, good for third best in MLB.

Their problem has come from the bullpen, which has a 5.92 ERA, among the very worst in baseball.  Scioscia met with his bullpen Wednesday, rearranging some roles in an attempt to shake things up.  A bright spot for their bullpen has been the strikeouts:  Brian Fuentes, Jose Arredondo, Jason Bulger, and Justin Speier are all averaging at least eight strikeouts per nine innings.

The Angel offense has been led by Torri Hunter (.321 EQA) and Mike Napoli, the greatest power-hitting catcher of all-time (!!!).  The return of Vladimir Guerrero next week should help the Angels score runs -- they are ninth in the AL averaging 4.90 runs per game -- but that won't happen until after this interleague series.  Matt Welch, in a post on Halos Heaven, made a compelling case for slugging minor leaguer Brandon Wood to be added to the fray.

The Dodgers are sending their three best starting pitchers to the mound this weekend, and they will see two of the Angels' best starters:

Friday Jered Weaver (3-2, 4.08 FIP) vs. Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 3.89 FIP)
Saturday John Lackey (1-0. 5.20) vs. Randy Wolf (2-1, 3.73)
Sunday Matt Palmer (5-0, 5.12) vs. Chad Billingsley (6-1, 2.97)

Andre Ethier, currently mired in a six-for-53 slump, has hit .333/.381/.614 with five homers and 15 RBI in 18 career games against the Angels.

Here's recent video of the Angels in action: