The Dodger Blue is Red Hot now

JULIO URIAS won with his arm and his bat on Sunday as the Dodgers won their seventh straight game (Wikipedia)

Summer is still nearly a month away, officially, but the Dodgers are warming up quite nicely. With Sunday’s 11-5 win over the Giants in San Francisco, the Boys of This Summer have won seven straight games and 11 of 12.

That win gave the Chavez Ravine gang a sweep of the three-game series against their historic rivals and moved them into second place in the National League West, one game behind the equally scorching San Diego Padres.

To add insult to injury, the Giants were the victim of a top performance not only of the Dodgers’ starting pitcher by his arm and his bat. Julio Urias (7-1) worked six innings, giving up just three hits and two runs. He struck out 10 Giants and walked none. Tying a bow on all of that, he went 2-for-3 at the plate with a single and a double, driving in three runs.

“He understands that he is an elite pitcher,” said Dodger manager Dave Roberts. “When you look around at our starters, the bar is high, and he’s right up there with those other guys.”

Also playing at an elite level is Gavin Lux, whose third inning grand slam was his second such feat in a week.  Although he’s batting .262 overall, he’s been hitting .364 over the last 15 days. And he might just be warming up.

Dodgers schedule: Idle on Monday, then games in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday back to Dodger Stadium to start a series hosting the Giants.

Heaven May wait a while longer for Halos

It almost seems like the two LA-OC big league baseball teams are magnetic opposites. The Dodgers swept their Bay Area rivals in three games, while the Angels barely avoided total humiliation against the Oakland A’s by winning Sunday’s game, 6-5.

Tolerant fans and bored sportswriters can find some good news coming from the Big A with the performance of Shohei Ohtani, who had a pinch hit sacrifice fly that allowed the Halos to tie the game. Later, Justin Upton knocked in the winning run that won the game.

However, starter Dylan Bundy – penciled in as the team’s “ace” – when the season started, was cuffed around for five hits and four runs in 2.1 innings. He was touched for two home runs, walked one and struck out two as his ERA ballooned to 6.50, which is typically a ticket back to the minor leagues.

It’s not just the pitching staff that has an aroma of Mudville. Upton is batting .197, Anthony Rendon is at .234, Jose Rojas is hitting .194 and Kurt Suzuki is at .178.  The team has a losing record at home, a losing record on the road and an 8-15 record for the month of May.

The last time the Angels were above water was on May 1 at 13-12. If June isn’t a lot better, that sound you hear will be that of TV remote controls clicking over to watch Dodger games.

Angels schedule: Idle Monday, then games Tuesday and Wednesday hosting the Texas Rangers. On Thursday, they’re off to Oakland for a four-game series with the A’s through Sunday.

R-e-l-a-x, say the Lakers, and they’re right

After losing the first game of their playoff series against the Phoenix Suns 99-90 on Sunday, the star Laker put a very positive spin on the defeat.

STAY POSITIVE, says LeBron James.

“It gives me a real advantage to be able to dissect a team; you know what we did wrong in the previous game,” said LeBron James, who scored a below-average 18 points in the loss. “Game One’s always been a feel-out game for me,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

In his trips around the NBA with the Cavaliers and Heat, he has five times followed up an opening game loss with four straight victories.

The Lakers will get another shot at throwing some shade at the Suns on Tuesday in Phoenix. Game Three is Thursday and Game Four is Sunday.

As for the Clippers, who lost their Game One to the Dallas Mavericks, 113-103, their next chance to even things up comes on Tuesday as well.

“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica.

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