The Dodgers will kick off the annual four game Freeway Series with the Angels on Monday evening. The first two games will be at Dodger Stadium and the final two games in Anaheim beginning on Wednesday. The Dodgers are literally on top of the world riding a ten game winning streak. They haven’t won eleven in a row since the 1993 sod squad.
In the opening game of the series former Dodger Ricky Nolasco will face Rich Hill. The former Dodger pitched for the boys in blue back in 2013. He only made 15 starts for the Dodgers that season and actually pitched pretty well. But he got hammered during the NLCS that year and is not a pitcher that can be counted on during a postseason start.
After pitching a few seasons in Minnesota, he came to the Angels. He’s been horrendous this season allowing an American League leading 23 home runs and posting a 2-9 record with a 5.23 ERA. He’s allowed over 10 hits per nine and has posted a 5.96 FIP. He’s struck out 71 and walked only 25 though. So he’s been able to miss bats and keep the walks to a minimum. Too many hanging pitches have led to his home run problems.
In five career starts against the Dodgers he is 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA. The way the Dodgers have been slugging the Ball of late probably means they’re going to eat him alive. Literally Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and the rest of the gang are going to eat his crappy pitching for lunch.
Nolasco vs. Dodgers
On the other side, left hander Rich Hill will counter for the Dodgers. Hill is striving to find his consistency as he has yet to pitch into the sixth inning all season setting a new MLB record for lack of length. In his last start he allowed just one earned run on four hits over five frames and struck out eight during a win against the Mets. He is 4-3 this season with a 4.73 ERA in 40 frames. He’s walked 26 and struck out 43 in nine starts. Command has been a huge problem this year for Hill.
Hill has a 6.23 ERA against the Angels in six appearances. He’s had issues with the Angels in the past but thankfully he won’t have to deal with Mike Trout, who is still out with a thumb injury. The Angels will also be without third baseman Yunel Escobar who is still battling a thumb injury as well. Look for Caleb Cowert to get the starts at third base instead.
Hill vs. Angels
The Angels have other injuries that have contributed to their mediocrity. Starting pitchers Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, and Garrett Richards are all still on the disabled list. Only Shoemaker is due to return sometime this season. Former Dodger Bud Norris is also out with right knee inflammation.
The Angles are essentially an average team. They’ve posted a 21-16 record at home and a 19-23 record on the road. They are currently in third place in the American League West with a 40-39 record 13 games behind Houston. The Angels do have a 38-28 record against the Dodgers over the last 66 games against the boys in blue.
In the third game in Anaheim on Wednesday will see Hyun-jin Ryu take the mound for the Dodgers, while the Angels have yet to announce their starting pitcher. Alex Wood will start the series finale and again the Angels have yet to announce their starter in that game too.
According to our friends at Numberfire, the Dodgers have a 57.1% win probability in the series opener. The rest of the series heavily favors the Dodgers as well. Game 2 gives them a 61.1% chance of winning and game three a 50.39% chance. In the fourth game the Dodgers are still favored with a 59.77% chance.
Cody Bellinger was named NL player of the week in an unsurprising announcement. Bellinger batted .370 this week with five home runs, three doubles, seven runs scored and 12 runs batted in. This is the second time in his career that he’s taken home the award for NL player of the week. The super kid leads the National League with 24 home runs.