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BASEBALL EXTRA / INTERLEAGUE PLAY

Dodger-angel Report

June 17, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

CATCHER

Mike Piazza is having his usual superb offensive season (.365, 12 homers, 35 RBIs) and has improved defensively with help from coach Mike Scioscia. Angel Jim Leyritz has cooled off since mid-May, his average slipping from .346 to .289, and he's playing with a bruised sternum. Edge to Dodgers.

FIRST BASE

With three homers in two weekend games at Seattle, Dodger Eric Karros appears to be rebounding from his typical slow start. Darin Erstad (.302, 36 RBIs, 12 stolen bases) has made a fairly smooth transition from the outfield and has been an offensive force but is doubtful for the series because of an elbow problem. Edge to Dodgers.

SECOND BASE

Veteran leadoff batter and DH Tony Phillips to second to keep his bat in the lineup, but the play of Luis Alicea (.300) and Erstad's injury might alter those plans. Dodger rookie Wilton Guerrero is hitting .289, league-leading six triples. Edge to Angels.

SHORTSTOP

Angel Gary DiSarcina has been spectacular at times defensively and has contributed 27 RBIs from the No. 9 spot in the order. Greg Gagne (.263, 23 RBIs) is having an above-average offensive year but has struggled at times in the field. Edge to Angels.

THIRD BASE

Dodger Todd Zeile (.223, 12 homers, 31 RBIs) recovered from his horrendous start but his average is still sagging and he has 11 errors, but he has been a consistent offensive threat, hovering near .300 all season and his power (nine homers, 11 doubles, 37 RBIs). Edge to Angels.

LEFT FIELD

Garret Anderson' has slipped from .362 on May 21 to .326, but he led the American League in hits through Sunday and has not gone two consecutive games without a hit. Dodger rookie Karim Garcia was recalled last week to replace struggling Todd Hollandsworth. Edge to Angels.

CENTER FIELD

Dodger leadoff batter Brett Butler (.321) is one of the game's best bunters and has a .426 on-base percentage. Edmonds (.323, 12 homers, 42 RBIs) has an effective bat and great glove. Edge to Angels.

RIGHT FIELD

Raul Mondesi (.287, 13 homers, 39 RBIs) has one of the National League's best arms and a potent bat but has struggled in clutch situations. Tim Salmon is on a 19-for-43 tear he has nine homers and a team-leading 47 RBIs. Edge to Angels.

STARTING PITCHING

Dodger right-hander Chan Ho Park (5-3, 3.16 earned-run average) will face left-hander Chuck Finley (3-5, 5.40) tonight, and Dodger right-hander Hideo Nomo (6-6, 3.67) and Angel knuckleballer Dennis Springer (4-2, 5.89) will square off Wednesday night. Edge to Dodgers.

BULLPEN

Dodger closer Todd Worrell has 15 saves, and Angel closer Troy Percival has given up no runs and five hits in 12 2/3 innings since returning from a shoulder injury May 17. Angel set-up man Mike James has been bothered by a sore elbow, and the Dodgers have two capable left-handers (Mark Guthrie, Scott Radinsky) compared to the Angels' Mike Holtz. Edge to Dodgers.

MANAGERS

The Angels' Terry Collins, who managed for three years in Houston, should have no problems adjusting to National League rules. A Dodger team many predicted would reach the World Series is 32-35, which doesn't reflect well on Bill Russell. Edge to Angels.

PREDICTION

How's this for daring: The teams will split. EVEN

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