When the Freeway Series last took place, the Los Angeles Angels were swept in a two-game set where they mustered just one total run. Now, the Angels play host to the L.A. Dodgers, as they come to the Big A for the final two-gamer of 2022.
The Dodgers and Angels come into this series in very different situations. The Dodgers — with their All-Star heavy lineup and league-best pitching staff — have won 13 of their last 15 games and are running away with the National League West division title.
Meanwhile, the Angels have lost 10 of 12 and have fallen near the bottom of the American League standings. However, coming off of a competitive series with the Houston Astros, the Angels may be feeling confident as they take any necessary steps to turn their season around.
In the final series before the All-Star Break, both the Angels and Dodgers want a strong close to their first half of the season. It’s just a matter of who will strike first in the always anticipated Freeway Series.
Game 1: Friday, July 15, 6:38 p.m. PT
The trusty Patrick Sandoval is on the mound for the Angels in Game 1 of this series. Sandoval has had a strong 2022 campaign, posting a 2.95 ERA of 76.1 innings pitched. While he has had troubles allowing free passes through the first half of the year, he has done a remarkable job limiting damage.
Against such a disciplined Dodgers lineup, he’ll need to have his command on his side. The Dodgers are fifth in MLB in OPS with runners on base, meaning walks could lead to significant issues, especially early in games.
On the other side, the Angels must deal with the rejuvenated All-Star Clayton Kershaw. The surefire Hall of Famer has a 2.40 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, striking out 69 batters in 63.1 innings while walking only 12. There have been discussions about him being the NL starter at next week’s All-Star Game given his elite production.
The Angels have shown a renewed plate discipline in recent outings, but still remain atop strikeout leaderboards in MLB. They must exhibit patience against one of the greatest pitchers of this generation if they want to have any chance of stealing the first of two games this series.
Game 2: Saturday, July 16, 7:07 p.m. PT
To close out the first half of the season, it’ll be Jose Suarez and Julio Urias facing off on the mound. Suarez, specifically, has struggled to replicate better results from the 2021 season.
Suarez is posting a 4.79 ERA and 1.52 WHIP over 41.1 innings. Suarez was removed from the rotation for period of time, but has worked his way back in, and is now looking to get back to what made him more successful last season.
Urias, meanwhile, remains an elite pitcher. His 7-6 record, 3.01 ERA, and 1.05 WHIP signal minor regressions from last season, but that speaks more to how incredible he was in 2021 as opposed to any issues with his 2022 performance.
If the Angels are going to get to Urias, it will likely be via the home run ball. His home runs per nine are at a career worst 1.4, as he’s allowed 14 long balls in under 90 innings.