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Freeway Series

In the inter-section

Baseball's 12th season of interleague play begins tonight, when the Dodgers visit the Angels. The Angels have fared better against National League teams (104 wins, 90 losses, .536 winning percentage) than the Dodgers have against AL competition (85-91, .483). Head to head, the Angels hold a 35-27 edge.

May 16, 2008|Bill Shaikin

At a Glance

Angels: 24-19, first place in the American League West, half a game ahead of Oakland

Dodgers: 21-19, second place in the National League West, 4 1/2 games behind Arizona

On This Date Last Year

Angels: 23-18, first place in AL West, 2 games ahead of Seattle

Dodgers: 25-16, first place in NL West, 3 games ahead of San Diego

Dodgers vs. Angels

series results:

1997: Dodgers, 4-0.

1998: Angels, 3-1

1999: Dodgers, 4-2.

2000: Angels, 4-2.

2001: Angels, 4-2.

2002: Series tied, 3-3.

2003: Angels, 4-2.

2004: Series tied, 3-3.

2005: Angels, 5-1.

2006: Dodgers, 4-2.

2007: Angels, 5-1.

Total: Angels, 35-27.

Most Valuable Player

Angels: Ervin Santana wouldn't have been in the starting rotation but for spring injuries to John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, but he has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the league. He's 6-0 with a 2.63 ERA, with 4.5 strikeouts for every walk and opponents batting .214 against him.

Honorable mention: Joe Saunders, Casey Kotchman, Torii Hunter.

Dodgers: Rafael Furcal is one of four players to rank among the National League top 10 in batting average (.366), on-base percentage (.448) and slugging percentage (.597). The others: Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones and Lance Berkman. Furcal hasn't played in 11 days because of a bad back, and the leadoff batter still leads the Dodgers in home runs, with five.

Honorable mention: Russell Martin, Joe Beimel, Blake DeWitt.

Three Questions

Angels:

1. Can the Angels rectify a bullpen that ranks next-to-last in the majors with a 5.20 ERA, and in particular setup man Justin Speier (5.63)?

2. With the designated hitters batting .205, can Mike Scioscia bolster the lineup by getting Juan Rivera or Reggie Willits some at-bats there, probably at the expense of Gary Matthews Jr.?

3. Can Howie Kendrick shake off the disabled list and get his 500 at-bats, even if he can't maintain his .500 batting average?

Dodgers:

1. Can Joe Torre identify his three best outfielders and play them without alienating the fourth outfielder?

2. Can the power-starved Dodgers really rely on oft-injured Nomar Garciaparra, who posted the lowest slugging percentage of his career (.371) last season?

3. The New York Yankees imposed strict limits on Torre's use of phenom Joba Chamberlain last year, so will the Dodgers do the same when they call up phenom Clayton Kershaw?

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