The Dodgers will head south to Anaheim this weekend to face the Angels in the first installment of the teams meeting on back-to-back weekends. There could be debate over what will be hotter, the weather or the Dodger bats.
It will be a scorcher this weekend.
The team from Los Angeles has been knocking the cover off the baseball for the better part of a month and is coming off a series where they scored 31 runs in three games. The Dodgers are 31-13 since May 17, the best in baseball over that time.
Meanwhile, the Angels have struggled to find consistency in any part of their game and that’s with the guys they’ve been able to keep on the field. Entering Thursday, the Halos have 13 players currently on their major league disabled list.
The Angels are 19-28 since May 15 and have struggled more recently, dropping nine of their past 12 games. They’ve seen themselves go from 3.5-games behind the Astros and Mariners, in the thick of the playoff race, to 13.5-games back and 12 back in the wild card.
At this point, there seems to be a greater chance of the Angels becoming sellers at the trade deadline than it is they could compete. But they have Mike Trout and anything is possible if they get their pitching staff healthy.
Speaking of Trout, this series will feature two of only four players in baseball with at least 200 plate appearances that can boast an OPS north of 1.000. Max Muncy, who has made a home for himself in the Dodger lineup, is one of those four.
Trout is obviously the best all-around player in the big leagues but it shows just how good Muncy has been.
The Dodgers have won five of the last nine games in Anaheim during the regular season, although they have lost three of the last four. Over the first 16 years of interleague, the Dodgers were 38-54 against the Angels. But the last five seasons have been in favor of the Dodgers, who have won 13 of the last 22.
As for the pitching, the Angels have used 12 different starting pitchers, while the Dodgers have used 11. Those numbers are good for top five in major league baseball. The difference is the Dodgers have started to get healthy as the Angels have started to take on water.
The first two Angel starters in the series have a combined six total starts at the major league level.
Friday, 7:07 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
Considering Kenta Maeda lasted a combined 5 1⁄3 innings in two of his last seven starts, the right-hander has pitched well. Maeda has given up five runs (four earned in the other five starts, not allowing a run in three of those.
The 30-year-old is a career 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA in interleague play in nine starts.
Felix Pena will make his fourth start in 2018, giving up four runs in 14 1⁄3 innings in the first three. The 28-year-old was in the Cubs’ system for the past nine years before being traded to the Angels in October last year.
Saturday, 4:15 p.m. PT (FOX)
Deck McGuire was traded to the Angels on June 19, becoming the seventh organization the right-hander has pitched for since being drafted 11th overall by the Blue Jays in 2010. One of the stops for McGuire was Oklahoma City where he made nine starts for the Dodgers in 2015.
The Orioles racked up five runs on McCguire Sunday, knocking him out of the game with two outs in the fourth inning.
Ross Stripling allowed nine runs (eight earned) in the eight starts after he joined the Dodgers’ rotation on May 6. Over his last three, Stripling has allowed eight runs in 17 innings. Opponents are hitting .338/.356/.549 over that time but the right-hander has continued to be stingy with walks, issuing only two while striking out 18.
Sunday, 5:05 p.m. PT (ESPN)
Andrew Heaney makes his third career start against his former team, the first since 2015 when he lost both starts. The Dodgers acquired Heaney in the Dee Gordon trade the previous offseason and flipped him within hours to the Angels for Howie Kendrick.
The left-hander has allowed at least five runs in three of his last seven starts but has allowed two or less earned runs in eight of 15 starts on the season.
Despite a couple hiccups along the way, Alex Wood has pitched well over the past two months. The lefty has been charged with two or less runs in nine of the 11 starts and the Dodgers are 8-3 in those games.
Wood has looked more like what he did last year since June 9, going 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA while striking out 24 and walking only three.