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Angels-Dodgers rivalry intensified by teams' division standings

The Angels have won 14 of 18 since May 22 and trail AL-West leading Texas by three games. The Dodgers' seven-game NL West lead over San Francisco on May 22 has decreased to five.

June 11, 2012|By Andrew Owens, Los Angeles Times
  • Angels Manager Mike Scioscia will return to Dodger Stadium this week for an interleague series with rookie sensation Mike Trout (27) hitting leadoff.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia will return to Dodger Stadium this week for… (Ben Margot / Associated…)

The Dodgers and Angels renew their interleague rivalry, opening a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on Monday with both clubs contending in their divisions — but having arrived there by very different paths.

The Angels (32-29) have won 14 of 18 games since May 22 and now trail the American League West-leading Texas Rangers by three games.

The Dodgers (39-22), who led the National League West by seven games May 22, are 10-9 since then and have seen their lead over the San Francisco Giants dwindle to five games.

History is on the Angels' side. They have a 50-36 advantage in the series over the 15 years of interleague play, though Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said he thinks that "too small of a sample size" to stake a claim of control in the rivalry.

"We play these guys six times a year, so I don't know if you can put any so-called dominance on anything when you play a team so few games," he said. "They've certainly had good teams … at times we've matched up well against them, at times we haven't. But I wouldn't read too much into it."

Scioscia, who played more games at catcher than any Dodger in the club's history, will be honored at Tuesday's game, which is Mike Scioscia Bobblehead Night.

He's not the only participant who has switched allegiances between the teams over the years. One of his coaches, Alfredo Griffin, is a former Dodger. And the Dodgers have in uniform Bobby Abreu, an Angel at the start of this season, and Adam Kennedy, who played a key role in the Angels' 2002 World Series championship.

Abreu, 38, was hitting .208 and playing only occasionally in the Angels' crowded outfield when the team released him. The Dodgers signed him May 4, and he has been a key contributor with Matt Kemp and Juan Rivera sitting out games because of injuries. As a Dodger, Abreu is batting .326 with a .442 on-base percentage.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said having both teams in contention energizes the fan bases.

"The rivalry is cool, that part I like," he said. "There's always just a little extra energy when you play those guys."

The fans seem to agree. David Siegel, the Dodgers' senior director of ticket sales, said the series is expected to draw nearly 150,000 fans.

andrew.owens@latimes.com

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