Sports

Going off in different directions

CLAYTON KERSHAW is one of the reasons why the Dodgers and their pitching staff have dominated the last few years. He pitched seven one-hit innings against the Angels last week (Flickr/David Slaughter).

We’re about one-third of the way through this special historic and weird 60-game 2020 MLB season, and local fans have reason to both rejoice and relapse. As you are probably aware, the Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the playoffs – and a possible World Series appearance – while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are headed toward relative oblivion.

It may seem like an act of cruelty to compare the teams, but since they just played a three-game series in Anaheim and will finish out the regular season with three games in Chavez Ravine, it seems important to take a look at what’s happening with both teams.

The Dodgers rode the sweep of the Halos – punctuated by an 8-3 win on Sunday – into first place in the NL West, and now have the best record in the league, third-best in MLB.

The Angels, on the other hand, are fourth in the AL West, third to worst in their league and … well, you get the idea.

We all know what’s right with the Dodgers. A long tradition of winning, great pitching, a steady hand at field manager, timely hitting with plenty of pop all add up to another good season.

But the Halos, well … they have none of that. Although the Angels had a good run in the early part of the century with a World Series title in 2002 and made it to the postseason seven times under Mike Scioscia, there’s been no playoff appearance since 2014 and so winning season since 2015.

There have been three managers over three seasons, and the team is batting .225. Additionally, they are among the MLB leaders in men left on base, with 146. Now, to be fair, the soaring Dodgers are about the same with 148, but they are batting almost 20 points higher and are almost 50 ahead of the Anaheimers in total bases.

Those issues can be overcome with good pitching. Long-time fans of the team remember when the Angels won a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games. But these days, the pitching staff sometimes looks like slow-pitch softballers with a 4.77 ERA, compared to 2.49 for their neighbors to the north. It says a lot when one of the team’s most promising new pitchers – Griffin Canning – takes the mound tonight against the Giants dragging along a 0-3 record and a 4.22 ERA.

Speaking of the Giants, the boys from the Bay could be the temporary salvation of the Halos. They’re 8-15 and in last place in the NL West, and have lost four straight. They’ll be in Anaheim Monday and Tuesday, and then the series shifts to SF on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s a chance to get a little bit fat after a very, very lean first third of this wild season.

“The Wild World of Sports” is posted on Mondays.

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