The Los Angeles Dodgers open their series with the Los Angeles Angels coming off one of their worst offensive showings in the last century.
Considering how inconsistent Angels starter Dan Haren has been, it's anyone's guess if the NL West leaders will get things turned around Friday night.
Facing an Oakland staff that came into this week's series with the majors' 10th-best ERA, the Dodgers (42-28) managed two runs and eight hits in being swept. The hit total was the franchise's lowest in a three-game series dating to 1921.
"We didn't do enough in any of these games to win any of them,' manager Don Mattingly said after dropping Thursday's finale 4-1 on a walkoff three-run homer. "We didn't really have guys in scoring position and you can't expect to win when you don't get guys on base.'
The top three hitters in the Dodgers' order - Dee Gordon, Elian Herrera and Andre Ethier - went a combined 2 for 35 without a walk in the series. Ethier's struggles are nothing new - he's batting .171 in 19 June games, dropping his average 41 points to .283.
He has had some success against Haren (4-7, 3.97 ERA), though, hitting .386 with two homers and five doubles in 44 career at_bats.
Like Ethier, Haren is also in the midst of a rough stretch.
The right-hander has yielded nine runs and 18 hits over 11 2-3 innings in his last two starts after posting a 1.29 ERA in his previous three outings. Prior to that, he had a 5.79 ERA in losing four in a row, which followed a three-start stretch in which he had a 1.64 ERA.
"When you get hit around, you don't feel good. You go home, and you feel better next time," Haren told the Angels' official website after allowing five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of last Friday's 5-0 loss to Arizona. "Just no excuses, really. Got to minimize the mistakes."
Haren is no stranger to facing the Dodgers from his time spent with the Diamondbacks. He has pitched well against the Dodgers since 2009, posting a 2.47 ERA in a nine starts.
While the Dodgers' offense is struggling mightily, the Angels' could be starting to show some signs of life.
The Angels (38-32) plated 18 runs while pounding out 25 hits in winning their last two games over San Francisco after combing for 14 runs yet still going 4-3 in their previous seven.
The Angels, five games back of AL West-leading Texas, have the majors' second-best record since May 22 (20-7), and Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo have been instrumental to the run. In the last 23 games, Trout is batting .381 with 23 runs and 16 RBIs, while Trumbo is hitting .341 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs.
Trout, Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo all homered at Chavez Ravine last week in helping the Angels take two of three. Since 2010, the Angels are 11-4 against the Dodgers, winning all five series.
A portion of that success has come against scheduled starter Chad Billingsley (4-5, 3.75), who is 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his last four starts in the Freeway Series with the Dodgers losing each time.
Billingsley gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss to the White Sox on Saturday. The righty gave up one run over seven innings in winning each of his previous two starts - both on the road.
One hitter who hasn't enjoyed facing Billingsley is Albert Pujols. The three-time MVP is 3 for 18 with three walks in their matchups.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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