The Los Angeles Angels will host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.
While the Dodgers have the best record in the National League, the Angels have lost 11 of 13 in July and are 13 games under .500 overall after dropping the opener 9-1 on Friday as Dodgers veteran Clayton Kershaw shut out the Angels on one hit through eight innings after he had a perfect game through seven.
The Dodgers have won three in a row and 10 of their past 11.
The Angels fired manager Joe Maddon on June 7, but it didn’t help — under interim manager Phil Nevin, they are 12-23.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout, who missed his third straight game Friday with back spasms, and two-way player Shohei Ohtani have been the subject of trade speculation.
But Angels general manager Perry Minasian said he believes he can still build a winner without trading one of his team’s stars.
“There’s definitely a formula to win around them,” Minasian said. “And it’s (with) a deeper team. You can do that a lot of different ways. The draft is a part of that. Free agency and trades are a part of that. I definitely see a road map to putting a competitive team on the field with those guys. They’re great players.”
For now, though, the depth isn’t there. And who’s to blame?
“It’s on me,” Minasian said. “It’s 100 percent on me. I’m in charge of the roster. Coaches can only work with what I give them. I’m very cognizant of that. … Our depth is not good enough. It has not been good enough.”
On the field, though, Minasian pointed the finger at the offense.
“We’ve really struggled at the plate,” he said. “Offensively, we’ve had a rough month-and-a-half. The bottom of the lineup has really struggled. And the top of the lineup has been somewhat streaky. It just seems when we do hit, we don’t pitch. That’s part of the game, and you go through stretches like that, but this stretch is longer than usual. … It’s something where we’ll continue to work and try to find what’s wrong and get to work trying to fix it.”
Left-hander Jose Suarez (1-3, 4.79 ERA) will make his ninth start of the season for the Angels on Saturday. He has never faced the Dodgers.
Left-hander Julio Urias (7-6, 3.01) will make his 18th start of the season for the Dodgers. He’s coming off his worst start of the season, getting a no-decision against the Cubs after giving up five runs in two innings.
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, who was not named to the All-Star team, is in one of the hottest stretches of his career. He went 1-for-4 with two RBIs on Friday and now has 14 hits in his last 20 at-bats over his last five games.
“You usually don’t think you’re ever going to get into one of those (hot streaks), because it’s so hard to get into a zone when you face three or four pitchers a game,” Freeman said. “You don’t talk about it. You just try to ride it as long as you can.”
–Field Level Media