Monday, April 2, 2012

Freeway Series Preview
 Brian Waller - Columnist

The Freeway Series has been a long standing tradition dating back to 1962 when the Angels and Dodgers played their first exhibition game against each other in Palm Springs, CA, the one-time spring training home of the Angels. After decades of pre-season games, the two franchises finally played meaningful regular season baseball in 1997 with the introduction of interleague play. Since 1997, 86 regular season games have been played between the Angels and Dodgers with the Halos leading the series 50-36. 

Never before has there been so much baseball buzz in southern California with the Angels having added arguably the best player on the planet and the Dodgers recently being sold for a staggering sum of money to group led by Los Angeles sports legend Ervin “Magic” Johnson.

Although this 3-game exhibition series doesn’t matter in terms of the standings, there is a certain amount of pride on the line. The Angels outdrew the Dodgers in attendance for the first time last year and look to continue to win the so called “Battle for L.A.”. A series win against their southern California rivals would certainly be a good way to start the season. As it pertains to the Dodgers, one would have to think the team’s new ownership is looking to start out on a positive note, a series win for them would be a step in the right direction as they look to reclaim some of the fan base the team lost while Frank McCourt was in charge.

Pitching Matchups:
The Angels will send Dan Haren to the mound on Monday, Ervin Santana on Tuesday and C.J. Wilson on Wednesday. The Dodgers will counter with Jamey Wright, Aaron Harang and Nathan Eovaldi.

Despite not being on the 25-man roster and being assigned to the minors, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels will take pitchers David Carpenter, Kevin Johnson and David Pauley along with outfielder Kole Calhoun to the Freeway Series.

Player(s) to Watch:
Angels pitcher Dan Haren confided to reporters he has battled a little bit of “dead arm” this spring. Monday night’s game will be his final tune-up before the regular season starts, it will be interesting to see how he does in his last Cactus League start.

Interesting Facts:
There have been three sets of brothers who have faced each other during the Freeway Series through the years…Maicer and Cesar Izturis (2006), Erick and Willy Aybar (2006) and Jared and Jeff Weaver (2009).

Some of the players that played for both the Angels and Dodgers during their career are Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, Raul Mondesi, Tim Wallach, Eddie Murray, Steve Finley, Garret Anderson and Juan Rivera.

Five members of the Angels coaching staff played for the Dodgers organization at one point during their careers…Mike Scioscia, Ron Roenicke, Mickey Hatcher, Alfredo Griffin and Dino Ebel. Former Dodgers Manager Joe Torre was an announcer for the Angels 1985-1990.
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