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The bottom half

August 31, 2008|Bill Shaikin

The week ahead

Dodgers: Brandon Webb could become baseball's first 20-game winner today, when he faces the Dodgers in Arizona. He'll face the Dodgers again next weekend at Dodger Stadium, where he is 4-0 with a 0.58 earned-run average in his last four starts. He has not lost at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 7, 2004, in a game that featured a pinch-hit grand slam by Robin Ventura. The Dodgers used 44 players in the 2004 season, and the only two still with them are on the disabled list -- pitchers Brad Penny and Yhency Brazoban. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks do not meet after this series, with the Dodgers playing their final 19 games against teams with losing records. Of course, the Dodgers have a losing record too.

Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday through next Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Angels: The Angels have a 40-25 road record, by far the best in the major leagues. They're 14-8 in the ballparks of the five playoff contenders outside the AL West -- the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins and White Sox -- with a breakdown of 1-5 at Tampa Bay and 13-3 elsewhere. The Angels took two of three in Chicago in May, with Carlos Quentin hitting two home runs in the lone White Sox victory. Quentin, who was not projected to make the opening-day roster before an injury to Jerry Owens, leads the AL in home runs. Quentin also leads the league in being hit by pitches.

Angels vs. Chicago White Sox, Friday through next Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago.

Elsewhere: Jimmy Rollins bragged last spring that the Phillies would win the NL East, and they did, after the Mets coughed up a seven-game lead in the final 17 games. Carlos Beltran boasted this spring that the Mets would win the division, and the Mets and Phillies are the two apparent finalists for the NL East title. The teams meet for the final time next weekend, after two games in Philadelphia last week in which the Mets blew a 7-0 lead in one and the Phillies blew an eighth-inning lead in the other. The Mets have won 10 of 15 from the Phillies this season, including four of six in New York.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, Friday through next Sunday at Shea Stadium, New York.

Minor leaguers of the week

Angels: Jose Perez, rhp

Perez, 20, struck out 10 and pitched eight shutout innings Tuesday for Class A Cedar Rapids, a nice game but just the latest in a series of high-strikeout performances for the Venezuelan prospect. The Angels promoted him two weeks ago from Orem, Utah, the rookie league team for which Perez put up these startling statistics: In 58 innings, he struck out 77 and walked eight. In three minor league seasons, Perez has pitched 183 innings with 182 strikeouts, 38 walks and a 2.95 ERA.

Dodgers: Andrew Lambo, of

Lambo, 20, drove in six runs in one game Thursday for double-A Jacksonville. In fact, he drove in six runs in two innings, with a three-run double in the eighth inning and a three-run home run in the ninth. He just got to Jacksonville, promoted for the final week of the minor league season after earning All-Star honors in the Midwest League. Lambo batted .288 with 15 home runs at Class A Great Lakes, ranking among league leaders with 33 doubles and 79 runs batted in. He grew up rooting for the Dodgers; the team selected him from Newbury Park High in the fourth round of last year's draft.

-- Bill Shaikin

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