Whereas the Dodgers have been perennial championship contenders for a decade, the Angels have scuffled to assemble a team worthy of the other’s on-field caliber and successes.
It’s easy to see a team headlined by superstars such as Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and think that they would be in the playoff hunt every season they play. That has been the complete opposite, with the Angels currently holding the longest postseason drought in baseball, not having reached since the 2014 season. On the contrary, the Dodgers have superseded franchise records, en route to nine division titles since the 2013 season as well as ten straight postseason appearances, including a championship in 2020 to boot.
That has all changed so far this season, as the Angels entered the Freeway Series with a better record than the Dodgers.
Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register comments on the opposite trajectories both teams are heading:
“So flash forward to this past June 4 in Houston. The Angels had lost the first three of a four-game series and trailed 1-0 when Luis Rengifo tied it with a homer to deep right-center in the sixth. Ohtani doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth, and that 2-1 victory launched this 11-3 stretch, including three out of four against the Rangers last week in Arlington... Their counterparts up the freeway could have used such a momentum-arresting moment this past weekend. Then again, having the worst bullpen in the National League makes it difficult to escape the torture the Dodgers have faced over the last month.”
- Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic notes how team president Andrew Friedman has remained optimistic throughout the Dodgers’ struggles over the past month, while recognizing how the pitching staff has been “uncharacteristic”:
“‘But I believe this team is capable of way more, and I believe that will be proven out by us playing better, more consistent baseball as we look ahead. … I think it’s an imperfect storm of some bad luck and us not playing very well... “It’s very uncharacteristic for us not to pitch well, and that is in a lot of ways, what we’ve experienced to this point,’ Friedman said.”
- The Dodgers have a handful of potential All-Stars on their roster with the first phase of voting ending on Thursday. Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com notes which Dodgers are within the top 10 within their positions, as six players rank within the top five for their respective positions.
- Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times weighs in on the Dodgers’ decision to extend five year contracts to stadium workers, while detailing the editions made to the contracts:
“The contracts, according to a statement released by the parties, will give the lowest-paid Dodger Stadium game-day employees total wage increases between 45% and 50% over the five-year period. Affected workers include ushers, security officers, ticket takers, ticket sellers, hospitality team members and groundskeepers. Full-time employees and ushers have separate contracts, a union spokesman said.”