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Preview: Dodgers at Angels

GAME: Los Angeles Dodgers (80-58) at Los Angeles Angels (69-69)
DATE/TIME: Wednesday, September 09 – 10:05 PM EST
WHERE: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
LINE: 130, -141 TOTAL: 8

If the Los Angeles Angels are going to keep their fading playoff hopes alive, they’ll need star center fielder Mike Trout to return to form in a hurry. Last season’s AL MVP is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts over his last two games heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, who have won 13 of their last 15 games and lead the NL West by 8 1/2 games over San Francisco.

Trout hit .218 with one home run and seven RBIs in August and has continued to struggle this month for the Angels, who have lost eight consecutive games to the Dodgers and sit 5 1/2 games back of AL West-leading Houston and 4 1/2 behind Texas for the second wild-card spot. The Angels did receive some positive news on Albert Pujols, who has been limited to designated hitter duties but could return to first base as soon as Friday after an MRI showed only inflammation in his sore right foot. Pujols said he can play through the pain and expects to be in the lineup Wednesday when the Angels look to avoid their first season sweep by the Dodgers since 1997. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has pitched in four of the last five games and could receive a day off from manager Don Mattingly, whose team’s magic number stands at 16 with 24 games to play.

TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, SportsNet LA (Dodgers), FSN West (Angels)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Mat Latos (4-9, 4.92 ERA) vs. Angels RH Garrett Richards (13-10, 3.77)

Latos is being given another opportunity to stay in the rotation after posting a 6.56 ERA in five starts since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline. “He hasn’t pitched as well as he’s capable of, that’s for sure,” Mattingly told reporters. “I think he would admit that.” Latos’ best start with the Dodgers came against the Angels on Aug. 2, when he tossed six innings of one-run ball.

Richards overcame five walks and earned the win against Texas on Friday while yielding two runs over six frames. “It didn’t look like his release point was there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters. “Garrett usually maintains his stuff. It was one of the few games where he got out of sync.” Richards is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in five career games (three starts) against the Dodgers.

WALK-OFFS

1. Angels closer Huston Street has not pitched since Friday and has only appeared in two games this month.

2. Dodgers C Yasmani Grandal will likely miss his third straight game Wednesday due to a sore left shoulder but could return by this weekend.

3. The Angels recalled 3B Kyle Kubitza and OF Daniel Robertson from Triple-A Salt Lake.

PREDICTION: Angels 6, Dodgers 4