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Freeway Series: Dodgers look to end Anaheim drought

Three-game exhibition series vs. Angels begins Thursday night.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Freeway Series starts on Thursday night, the annual exhibition games with the Angels to close out spring training. The first two games this year are on the road, which allows us to look at the Dodgers’ struggles in Anaheim.

Interleague play has taken some of the luster away from these spring games between teams separated by roughly 30 miles of Interstate 5. Since 1997, the Dodgers have always struggled on the road against the Angels during the regular season, going 20-35 (.364) at Angel Stadium, compared to 29-26 (.527) at Dodger Stadium.

But the futility in Anaheim hasn’t been limited to the regular season. Would you believe that the Dodgers’ last spring win in Anaheim was in 2003?

A 6-5 win on March 30, 2003 was the Dodgers’ second win in as many nights in Anaheim. A three-run home run by Paul Lo Duca against reliever Ryan Cummings highlighted a four-run seventh inning that gave L.A. the win against the defending World Series champs.

Since then, the Dodgers have played 15 spring training games in Anaheim, and the best they have done is a tie, twice, the last coming in 2008.

Don’t get me wrong; spring training records don’t mean a thing, but 0-13-2 is hard to do no matter the circumstances.

The Dodgers have two opportunities — Thursday and Friday night — to remove that zero from the win column.

Kenta Maeda starts for the Dodgers on Thursday, making his final tuneup start of spring before starting on Tuesday against the Padres. Maeda has a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings this spring, with 11 strikeouts and four walks, but that doesn’t include six innings in a minor league game last Friday, which produced one of the best quotes of spring training:

Maeda is expected to pitch three innings on Thursday.

The Angels will start Yusmeiro Petit, who three seasons ago with the Giants set a major league record by retiring 46 consecutive batters. The right-hander hasn’t quite been that good this spring with the Angels, but his spring ERA is 0.75 in 12 innings, with 12 strikeouts and just one walk.

Game info

Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser are back on the call for the Dodgers on SportsNet LA, and every game of the Freeway Series will also be available in the Los Angeles market with the Angels broadcast. Thursday night’s Angels telecast will be on KCOP.

Time: 7:07 p.m.

Site: Angel Stadium

TV: SportsNet LA, KCOP