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06/20/10 6:23 PM ET
Another chapter in Freeway Series begins
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Just a little more than a week after the Angels swept the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Freeway Series heads south to Anaheim for a three-game set that begins on Tuesday at Angel Stadium.
The Angels enter hot, having won six of their past nine, including two out of three against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, whereas the Dodgers have lost four in a row and seven of their past nine after their 2-0 defeat to the Red Sox on Sunday night.
In the series opener, the Dodgers will look to left-hander Clayton Kershaw to get the club back on track, with the Angels countering with right-hander Ervin Santana.
Kershaw, who is 7-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 starts, is coming off a solid outing against the Reds on Wednesday in which he allowed just one run over 7 1/3 innings. It's been part of an impressive streak for Kershaw, who is 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA over his past eight starts.
Kershaw credits manager Joe Torre for his recent turnaround, as the veteran skipper has helped him settle down, especially early in ballgames.
"For me, personally, I think it's just getting more comfortable," Kershaw said of his recent streak. "Toward the beginning of the season -- the first eight or nine starts -- I was having trouble settling. ... The first inning was giving me problems, getting my pitch count up, and it made it tough to make it through seven. What I take from what [Torre] says is that maybe I'm just channeling my energy a little bit better, just able to start more on top of my stuff earlier in the game."
Santana has also fared well this season, with a 6-5 record and 3.91 ERA in 14 outings.
It's been a nice turnaround for Santana, who posted a 5.03 ERA last season after going 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 2008.
Much of his success has come from regaining his devastating slider, but he admitted the pitch was off in his most recent start, on Tuesday, when he allowed season highs in runs (six) and hits (10) to the Brewers. But Santana has fared well against the Dodgers, with a 3.94 ERA in five career Freeway Series starts, and will look to improve on that in the opener.
Dodgers: No love for the American League
Interleague Play hasn't been kind to the Dodgers, as they are 2-7 against the American League this season. They've also struggled against the Angels recently, with the Halos winning 16 of the past 23 meetings between the two clubs. ... Ten of Matt Kemp's 11 home runs this year have come against right-handed pitchers.
Angels: Scioscia taking care with Aybar
Shortstop Erick Aybar, who damaged the meniscus in his left knee last Monday, will be reevaluated on Tuesday to see if a retroactive trip to the disabled list is needed.
"We should know on Tuesday which direction it's going," manager Mike Scioscia said. "A player, if he's at a heightened sense of risk, you're not going to play him. If he's not ready, he's not ready. It doesn't matter if it's Erick Aybar or anybody else. When he's ready, he'll go out and play."
The Dodgers are 24-18 with Jamey Carroll in the starting lineup this year. ... In the series history between the two clubs, the Angels are 24-13 at home against the Dodgers and 44-33 overall. ... The Angels have used 53 lineups in their first 71 games.