Friday, May 18, 2007

Freeway Series Preview
By Adam Dodge

The only part of inter-league baseball that still intrigues me is the annual Freeway series between the Angels and the hated Dodgers. The two teams meet again this weekend for a three game series in Anaheim.

With two first-place teams doing battle and So Cal bragging rights on the line, the weekend series should take center stage in the southland. The Dodgers enter the series in a similar position as the Angels – 3 games up in their division, and clear favorites to outlast their contenders. And like the Angels, they lack in homerun power and are deep in pitching.
On paper it appears that the fans are in for a good series. The Angels though, should have the advantage having won 7 of their last 9 games. They’ve also beaten the Dodgers in 11 of their last 14 games played at the Big A.

The pitching match-ups are good. Friday night, the Dodgers will send the MLB leader in ERA, Brad Penny to the mound against the Angels, who will counter with the struggling Ervin Santana. Santana should feel comfortable pitching a home-night game, a setting which usually brings out the best in the 24 year old right hander. Expect a low scoring game, which could be settled by the bullpens in the late innings.

On Saturday, Mark Hendrickson (2-0, 2.61), who is filling in for the injured Jason Schmidt, will face the Angels’ Jered Weaver, who appears to have shaken off the rust and has settled into the rotation after missing the first two weeks of the season. The Angels were among baseball’s best against lefties last season, and have roughed up Hendrickson, former Devil Ray, in the past.
Sunday will feature Derek Lowe and Kelvim Escobar, who will look to rebound after being pounded by Seattle in his last start.

The Angels are playing great baseball, especially at home, have been the better team in inter-league play, and have the one true superstar in Vladimir Guerrero.
Prediction – Angels take series 2 games to 1


Ervin Santana – Tonight’s start is a big one for the young Santana, who has struggled in the early going. A big performance against the crosstown rivals in front of a rowdy sold out crowd could go a long way in getting him back on track as one of the games best young pitchers.

Vladimir Guerrero – The Angels just completed a 5-2 road trip, and except for last night’s 3-4 3 RBI performance, Guerrero was quiet. I look for him to heat up this weekend. **Prediction** Vlad goes deep twice on Saturday.
Love to hear what you think!


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