Angels-Dodgers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 10, 2012
Even without Matt Kemp, the Los Angeles Dodgers enjoyed a successful road trip. Continuing that run could be tough with the surging Los Angeles Angels visiting Chavez Ravine. The major league-best Dodgers go for a fourth straight victory in Monday night's Freeway Series opener as the Angels try to win 10 consecutive road games for the second time in club history. With Kemp re-injuring his left hamstring May 30 against Milwaukee - a day before the club suffered its first four-game home sweep since 1993 - the Dodgers (39-22) were missing their MVP candidate during a 10-game trip. Los Angeles, though, finished that stretch with seven victories after Andre Ethier's fourth career grand slam keyed an 8-2 victory over Seattle on Sunday. The Dodgers have 16 runs and 25 hits in the last two games after they were no-hit by six Mariners in Friday's 1-0 defeat. "If before (the trip) started we looked ahead, it would have looked like an uphill battle," Ethier said after increasing his NL-leading RBI total to 52. "But it was one where we went and divided the series and had fun playing." The Dodgers, though, haven't had much fun in this series since the start of 2010, losing nine of 12, including five of six at home. The Angels (32-29) arrive at Dodger Stadium on the heels of a three-game sweep at Colorado over the weekend. The Angels' nine-game road winning streak is their longest since a franchise-best 11-game run from July 6-Aug. 2, 1988. "It's good for L.A. baseball. You get two teams that are playing good,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It's a fun series for the fans and it's games we've got to win.'' Chris Capuano (8-2, 2.82 ERA) has a chance to tie the NL wins lead Monday, and prevent the Dodgers from their first five-game home skid since July 30-Aug. 10, but the top third of the Angels' order could make that difficult for the veteran left-hander. Mike Trout, Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols hit a combined .548 (23 for 42) with 16 RBIs in the Rockies series. "Probably the best I've seen in my career (from the top three)," Hunter told the Angels' official website. Capuano, who has allowed four homers in his last six innings, will have to be particularly careful against Pujols, who has five straight two-hit games and is batting .545 (18 for 33) with five homers off the southpaw. Angels cleanup hitter Mark Trumbo could be another tough out. He's batting .357 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in the last 14 games after hitting two three-run shots Sunday. Monday's scheduled starter Garrett Richards (1-0, 1.13) also benefited from a pair of Trumbo homers in his last appearance, Tuesday's 6-1 victory over the Mariners. Richards, who is in the rotation with ace Jered Weaver on the disabled list (lower back strain), struck out a career-high eight to pick up his first major league win. "He's a guy with a really good arm,'' Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said. Ethier was 2 for 30 on the final eight games of the trip, but the right fielder batted .386 (27 for 70) at home in May. Ethier hit .417 (10 for 24) with five doubles off Angels pitching last season when the Dodgers dropped four of six. Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe could return to the lineup Monday after missing the last 27 games with an injured left wrist.
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