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Preview: Dodgers (78-58) at Angels (69-67)
Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Date: September 07, 2015 9:05 PM EDT
Zack Greinke has pitched so well this season that it might not matter what opposing teams have done against him in the past.
The Los Angeles Angels hope it does as they welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to Anaheim to open the Freeway Series on Monday night.
Greinke (15-3, 1.59 ERA) is just 2-5 with a 3.86 ERA against his former team in 11 career appearances, including 10 starts, and the Angels hold the highest batting average against him in the majors at .286.
Mike Trout (5 for 10), Kole Calhoun (4 for 8), Erick Aybar (9 for 25), Albert Pujols (8 for 26) and David Freese (5 for 17) are each batting .294 or better against Greinke. The only Angels hitter with a home run is the injured Matt Joyce, but Trout has a double and two triples and Aybar and Pujols have five doubles apiece.
The leading NL Cy Young candidate, however, has given up five runs in his last five starts and has lost only once since June 18, improving his MLB-best ERA and WHIP (0.85).
Although he’s allowed double-digit hits and four or more runs in four starts against the Angels, he’s also given up two runs or fewer and worked eight innings in four others.
The latest came during a 5-3 win July 31 in which he held the Angels to five hits and two runs while walking one and striking out eight. The victory was the first of a three-game sweep and the second victory in a 6-1 span for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles is enjoying a similar stretch after taking three of four from San Diego with a 5-1 win Sunday – the club’s 11th victory in 13 games. The Dodgers (78-58) now own a 7 1/2-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West and are a season-high 20 over .500.
Dodgers pitchers lowered their MLB-best ERA since Aug. 14 to 2.55 by surrendering five runs in the final three wins over the Padres. Starters Alex Wood and Brett Anderson gave up just seven hits and one run over 12 2-3 innings in the final two games.
“We’re playing really good baseball right now, everything is starting to come together,” Wood told MLB’s official website. “It’s a different guy every night.”
The Angels (69-67) have lost six straight to the Dodgers but won their fourth in five games with Sunday’s 7-0 victory over Texas. They are 5 1/2 back of AL West-leading Houston and 2 1/2 behind the Rangers for the second wild-card spot.
Trout, who went 2 for 3 against Greinke on July 31 and added a home run off Kenley Jansen in the ninth, snapped a career-worst 27-game homer drought Sunday with his 34th.
“There’s a lot of baseball left,” Trout told MLB’s official website. “We won this series, and that’s always big.”
Nick Tropeano gets the start Monday night in place of Matt Shoemaker, who will miss at least one turn in the rotation with a right forearm strain. Tropeano (1-2, 5.51) was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday to make his fourth spot start for the Angels.
The right-hander declined through his first three. After tossing six innings in a 2-0 win over Oakland on April 23, he gave up four runs over six in a 4-2 loss to Texas on July 24 and then six runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 20.