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The bottom half

September 14, 2008|Bill Shaikin

The week ahead

Dodgers: The Dodgers have played 12 games against the San Francisco Giants, and Tim Lincecum has not started any of them. He is not scheduled to start in this series either, but he would be in line to face the Dodgers on the final day of the season, if the game matters. The Giants' Cy Young hopeful has beaten the Dodgers once this season, in relief. He could be the difference in the National League West, as he has already beaten the Arizona Diamondbacks twice, and he is scheduled to face them again Thursday.

Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, Friday through next Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Angels: Remember when the Oakland Athletics were the dominant second-half team in baseball? Those days are over. Last year, the A's went 44-44 before the All-Star break and 32-42 after the break. That's not too dramatic a drop. But this is: The A's were 51-44 at the break this year, six games behind the Angels. They are 17-36 since the break this year and were 23 1/2 games out before the Angels' game Saturday night against Seattle. The A's haven't finished a season further out of first place since 1997, when their starting second baseman was Scott Spiezio and their left fielder was Jason Giambi.

Angels vs. Oakland Athletics, Tuesday through Thursday at McAfee Coliseum, Oakland.

Elsewhere: The National League Central race is not over, not with the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers meeting for three games this week in Chicago and then concluding the season with three games in Milwaukee. The Brewers have their top three starters -- CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets and Manny Parra -- lined up for this series. The Brewers are poster children for the wild card -- second place in their division, with the second-most victories in the league through Friday's games -- but the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals all are within five games of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs, Tuesday through Thursday at Wrigley Field, Chicago.

Minor leaguers of the week

Angels: Luis Jimenez, 3b

Jimenez went four for four and drove in five runs in the victory that clinched a spot in the Pioneer League championship series for the Angels' rookie-ball team in Orem, Utah. Jimenez, 20, played two seasons in his native Dominican Republic before the Angels assigned him to Orem this season, and he led the Pioneer League with 15 home runs and 28 doubles. He hit .330, second in the league. The Angels converted him from catcher to third base this season, but he was used as the designated hitter in the playoffs.

Dodgers: Matt Wallach, c

Wallach hit .429 in the Pioneer League playoffs for the Dodgers' rookie-ball team in Ogden, Utah. Wallach, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the 22nd round of last year's draft. He hit .297 with three home runs and six doubles for Ogden last year, .283 with 10 home runs and 17 doubles at Ogden this year. He is the son of former All-Star third baseman Tim Wallach -- father and son both played at Cal State Fullerton -- and played high school ball at Orange Lutheran, where he was coached by former All-Star pitcher Mark Langston.

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