Football right around the corner

NICK SCOTT and other Rams players working out (Breven Townsell/LA Rams).

While the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of division races – the Halos battling for a wild card spot and the Dodgers for the National League West lead, there are other “Los Angeles” teams – located as they are in Inglewood – are about to start the 2021 NFL season.

The Rams’ training camp will start on Wednesday, July 28 at UC Irvine. It will be one of 10 camp days open to the public. Gates will open at 2:30 p.m. and practices will begin at 4 p.m. There will be a giveaway at each open practice day, free tickets – necessary for admittance – are available at website.

As for the Chargers, their first open practice will be on Sunday, Aug. 8 at SoFi Stadium. Get free tickets at .

The Rams and the Chargers will start their three-game exhibition season on Saturday, Aug. 14 at SoFi against each other at 7 p.m. The Rams will be the home team. The regular season will commence on Sunday, Sept. 12 with the Bolts visiting the Washington Football Team in D.C. at 10 a.m. and the Rams hosting the Chicago Bears that same day at 5:20 p.m.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled baseball banter.

Only so many more chances …

The good teams make the most of their opportunities and  – sadly – the Angels aren’t doing that. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in ages, Job One is making it to the post-season. For now, the first step is to catch the Seattle Mariners and take third place in the AL West.

They traveled to Seattle before the All-Star break and lost of three.  Now, over the weekend they hosted the M’s in Anaheim, losing two of three. The net result is to drop to 5.5 games back in the wild card race with four teams ahead of them.

Pitching continues to be the problem. David Fletcher had an historic hitting streak going (26 games, but ending Sunday) and Shohei Ohtani is oh-mazing (34 home runs) but you can’t count on them and their buds to score eight runs a game to make up for the seven runs the hurlers gave up on Sunday, or on July 9.

Hoping to shake off the one-step forward, two steps back, the Angels will play a two-game series in Oakland Monday and Tuesday. They’ll have Wednesday off and then play three in Minnesota Thursday through Sunday.

Speaking of golden (or blue) opportunities …

The Dodgers, on the other hand, have the plate set for them to not only leap into first place in the National League West, but also to reclaim the title of the best team in Major League Baseball.

Trailing the San Francisco Giants by just one game, the Dodgers will host the orange-and-black in Chavez Ravine for a four-game series Monday (today) through Thursday.

“We’re playing the team that’s in first place in the division,” said catcher Will Smith. “That’s always big. But I don’t think these games are any bigger than the last 70,75, however many we’ve got left.”

Clichés and math aside (there are 68 games remaining) taking three of four – at home – has got to be the minimum passing grade against the Giants. Breaking even at home against the team you want to pass? That’s a very thin meal at best.

Pete Zarustica writes “Sports Monday.”

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