It was only appropriate that two of the most struggling teams in Major League Baseball met over the weekend and settled who – for the moment – had more to complain about.
At the Big A in Anaheim, the Angels on Sunday won what looked like a pitching duel, prevailing 2-1 to take the Freeway Series two games to one over the Dodgers. That close contest followed two high-scoring games, suggesting that for each team, sometimes they can hit well and sometimes they can pitch well, but not at the same time.
But despite keeping the Dodgers from scoring more than one run – Chris Taylor’s RBI single – the Angel pitching staff didn’t look very sharp. They walked nine batters and struck out 10, a ratio that doesn’t inspire much confidence.
On the other hand, the outcome of Sunday’s game meant the Dodgers – who had started the season like a condo afire – have now lost five consecutive series and are at third place in the NL West at 18-17.
Not playing up to capabilities has been the Angels story for half a decade. This is the team that is paying $10 million to a player – Albert Pujols – they just cut because he was batting .198.
But, for one day, the boys from Orange County were a wee bit better. Take all the good news you can.
ANGEL SCHEDULE: They’ll be in Houston Monday through Wednesday, have Thursday as a travel day, and then start a series in Boston on Friday.
DODGER SCHEDULE: They’ll be idle on Monday, and then host Seattle Tuesday and Wednesday. No game Thursday, then host Miami on Friday.
Are the Lakers finally, really back?
Sunday’s victory over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center raises some interesting questions. Sure, the Lakers prevailed 123-110 as Anthony Davis looked great, scoring 42 points, and four other players scored in double figures.
But LeBron James is still out – reinjured after a brief return – and the team is 38-30 and fallen to seventh place in the Western Conference. Can they make the playoffs without falling into a play-in category? Stay tuned. Meanwhile:
LAKER SCHEDULE: Host New York Knicks on Tuesday, then the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Can’t complain about the Clippers
In contrast to their cross-town rivals, the Clips are doing pretty well. They’re 45-23 and in third place in the Western Conference, having clinched a playoff spot. Saturday’s 106-100 loss to the Knicks was disappointing, but winning six of their last 10 is hardly a worrisome trend. Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points in the Clips’ last home game of the regular season.
CLIPPER SCHEDULE: Visiting Toronto on Tuesday, then Charlotte on Thursday and Houston on Friday.
Area hockey teams are ice-cold
With losses on Saturday, the Kings (21-26-6, 48 points) and Ducks (17-30-9, 43 points) are seventh and eighth in the NHL West and are eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. For die-hard hockey fans, the Kings will host the St. Louis Blues today (Monday), then play twice in Denver Wednesday and Thursday to play the Avalanche. The Ducks, having lost their last four games, have finished their season.
Pete Zarustica writes “Sports Monday.”