A California clash at Angel Stadium tonight, with the Los Angeles Dodgers visiting the LA Dodgers.
Both teams have nearly identical records, with the Dodgers at 38-31 and the Angels at 39-33.
The Angels currently sit three and a half games behind the surging Texas Rangers in the AL West, while the Dodgers trail the surprising San Diego Padres by two games in the NL West.
Clayton Kershaw will be tugging the mound for the Dodgers, and has been absolutely lights out in his last eight outings, sporting a 6-1 record and a 1.82 ERA during that span.
The Angels will counter with struggling right hander Ervin Santana. After a disastrous 2009 campaign, Santana was starting to look a lot like the 2008 model in the month of May, with a 2.53 ERA and a 4-1 record. Things have fallen apart in June however, as Santana’s ERA in the month is 6.19, and he’s averaging nearly two baserunners an inning, with a WHIP of 1.94.
Kershaw was excellent in his two outings against the Angels last season, with a 1-0 record and a microscopic 0.75 ERA. And they are going to need him to continue the trend to gain ground in the division.
In the two teams’ last meetings, the Angels swept the Dodgers in a three game set at Dodger Stadium, taking advantage of their slumping bats. The Dodgers hit just .196 and struck out an unsightly 26 times during the series. The Dodgers stars are certainly not shining lately, to say the least.
All-Star Matt Kemp’s average has fallen to .258 thanks to a miserable June where he is hitting .181 with just one home run. April/May superstar Andre Ethier has not exactly picked up where he left off following his injury; he is hitting just .208 in June and is 0 for his last 16.
Every game counts in the tight AL West, and tonight would be a good time for the Dodgers bats to finally wake up, and capatalize on the shaky Santana. And it’s going to be difficult for the Angels to get anything going against Kershaw.
First pitch is at 10:05 EST.