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The bottom half

August 17, 2008|Bill Shaikin

The week ahead

Dodgers: The Dodgers make their only scheduled visit this year to the Phillies' bandbox, so the homers should be flying -- even off the Dodgers' bats. In sweeping four games from the Phillies last week at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers outhomered Philadelphia, 5-4. The Phillies lead the major leagues in home runs -- they have hit almost twice as many as the Dodgers -- but the L.A. lineup now features Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake and Matt Kemp every day.

Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies, Friday through next Monday at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia.

Angels: The Twins did not have to trade Johan Santana -- they had him signed for this year -- and can you imagine how good the Twins would have been with Santana in place of Livan Hernandez in their rotation? The net cost to the Twins would have been $8 million, virtual pennies given the millions Minnesota receives each year in revenue sharing. Perhaps the Twins' executives undervalued their own ability to rebuild, because Minnesota comes into Angel Stadium in position for its fifth AL Central title in seven years.

Angels vs. Minnesota Twins, Thursday through next Sunday at Angel Stadium.

Elsewhere: The Marlins have been in business since 1993, with two World Series championships. They appeared to punt on this season when they traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers last winter, but the Marlins are above. 500 and the Tigers are not. The Marlins have more home runs than the Tigers. And the Tigers promoted Willis last week -- to triple A. Florida visits Arizona this week, leaving Dodgers fans with this rallying cry: Go Fish!

Florida Marlins vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday through next Sunday at Chase Field, Phoenix.

Minor leaguers of the week

Angels: Ryan Mount, if

The Angels drafted Mount from Ayala High in Chino three years ago and, after minor league stops in Arizona, Utah and Iowa, he's putting on quite a show for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes -- the closest thing Chino has to a hometown team. He hit five home runs in six games through Thursday, batting .429 and driving in 10 runs over that stretch. Mount, a second baseman, sat out the first two months of the season after suffering a knee injury during spring training. In 64 games with the Quakes, he's hitting .295 with 13 home runs. Oh, and it's his 22nd birthday today.

Dodgers: Josh Lindblom, rhp

Lindblom, 21, was one of college baseball's best closers this year, at Purdue. The Dodgers drafted him in the second round and turned him into a starter, for now. They skipped him past rookie ball and sent him to Class-A Great Lakes, where he has worked from two innings an outing to five, with the results looking better as he gets stronger. Lindblom gave up one hit in five innings last week, capping a three-start run in which he pitched 12 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and no walks, with 11 strikeouts.

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