Dave Roberts: Dodgers-Angels Not True Rivalry

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

After being swept by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers try to get back on track when they visit the Los Angeles Angels for the start of the Freeway Series at Angel Stadium on Tuesday.

Both teams head into the matchup trending in different directions as for the first time since 2014, the Angels (41-33) have a better record than the Dodgers (39-33) at the start of the Freeway Series.

“Regardless of who we’re playing, we’ve got to try to win,” manager Dave Roberts said. “As far as the rivalry, I honestly don’t know how they’re playing right now. I know they’ve got a lot of good players. It’s always good to go there and play.

“There’s a mixed support group of Angels fans and Dodgers fans making the trek South, so it’s always lively. It will be fun, but it will be more fun if we’re playing better baseball.”

The Angels are 11-3 during the month of June while the Dodgers have gone just 5-10. L.A. has lost six of 10 series dating back to May 15 and are 13-18 during that stretch.

The Dodgers’ unexpected skid can be attributed to several factors, including injuries in the starting rotation and inconsistent performance from the bullpen. However, the pitching staff has also struggled to minimize the damage in innings.

“That is one thing that we haven’t done as far as minimize damage,” Roberts conceded. “When there is a run or two across, typically you can kind of keep them at bay and get your offense back on the field. But we haven’t done that.

“And so like I said, we just got to be better at stuff like that. And also there’s opportunity for the offense, even in this stretch, where we can tack on at times and we haven’t. And so to continue to use certain leverage guys, when typically we can tack on and create some space, we haven’t done that.

“So I think it’s something that we all have to look at this as a team and look and say, how can we get better? I’m telling you, the Angels aren’t going to feel sorry for us. They’re fighting to win baseball games too. (Reid) Detmers has got a good arm, we’re going to see (Shohei) Ohtani, so it’s not getting much easier.”

Dave Roberts: Dodgers rivalry with Angels ‘geography driven’

The annual Freeway Series is usually met with plenty of fanfare, but Roberts stopped short of saying the Dodgers have a true rivalry with the Angels. “I think it’s more just geography driven,” he began.

“I think it’s a thing in the sense of Southern California and local Los Angeles, Greater Los Angeles and Orange County, but being in different leagues, obviously not the same division. But I enjoy going down there and playing the Angels, certainly.”

After their two-game series in Anaheim, the Dodgers and Angels next play each at Dodger Stadium from July 7-8.

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