Dodgers & Angels Begin Freeway Series With First Since 2014

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The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have both dealt with injuries of late, but the teams otherwise are trending in different directions heading into the two-game Freeway Series that begins Tuesday.

For the first time since 2014, the Angels (41-33) have a better record than the Dodgers (39-33) at the start of their annual matchup.

From August 4-7, 2014, the Freeway Series was four games, split evenly at Dodger Stadium and in Anaheim. The Angels entered the matchup at 66-44, while the Dodgers were 63-49. L.A. was shut out in the Freeway Series opener but responded with three consecutive wins against the Angels.

As for this season, the Angels are 11-3 during the month of June. Their torrid stretch dates back to avoiding a four-game series sweep by the Houston Astros with a win in the finale at Minute Maid Park and despite the Angels recently losing Zach Neto, Gio Urshela and Anthony Rendon to the injured list.

Conversely, the Dodgers have gone just 5-10 in June and are coming off a sweep by the San Francisco Giants that included a historic loss at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers’ struggles date back to the start of a series against the Minnesota Twins on May 15. They are 13-18 since that point and have lost six of 10 series.

Much of the reason behind the Dodgers’ unexpected skid has been mounting injuries in the starting rotation and inconsistent performance from the bullpen as a whole. The Dodgers pitching staff has a 4.66 ERA that ranks 25th in baseball and is the franchise’s worst mark since 1944.

“I think if you look back at this two-week stretch, there’s a lot of things that we’re just not doing well, and we’re not playing clean baseball, fundamental baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think it’s going back to not just trying to win, but focus on the little things.

“Catching the baseball, minimize walks, throwing to the right base, not getting thrown out on the bases, executing a pickoff play, those are things that are coming back to haunt us. And typically, we’re much better at that, and this last couple of weeks, we haven’t been good. Those are things we have to clean up.”

Dodgers drop in NL West standings

In being swept by the Giants, the Dodgers slipped to third place in the National League West standings. The Giants extended their season-best winning streak to seven games in the process.

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