Breaking down the first two games of LA Angels vs. Dodgers

Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Cameron Maybin (9) against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Cameron Maybin (9) against the San Diego Padres during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Angels and Dodgers have used similar formulas to each get a victory in the first two games of their annual Spring Freeway Series: Good pitching and solid defense.

On Thursday night the LA Angels used a total of nine pitchers to beat their neighbors from the North 3-2.  Yusmeiro Petit continued his stellar Spring pitching two more shutout innings. Petit for the Spring has a 1-0 record with a 0.64 ERA in six outings, four of them starts.  He has pitched 14 innings allowing 10 hits and walking only one batter while striking out 13 hitters.

In addition Petit has held opponents to a ,204 batting average and a 0.79 WHIP. He also pitched for two weeks with the Venzuelan national team in the World Baseball Classic. For Petit it has been a rebirth of sorts after a sub-par season in Washington where Petit went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

Petit was followed by three pitchers who are hopeful of getting the final spot in the Angels bullpen. Kirby Yates pitched the third inning giving up an unearned run, then one of the biggest Spring Training surprises Blake Parker pitched another stellar inning striking out all three Dodgers batters he faced in lowering his ERA to 0.79 this Spring.

In total Parker has pitched in 12.1 innings this Spring allowing only one run and has given up seven hits and walked only two batters.  The most astounding thing for Parker is his 24 strikeouts in those 12.1 innings.  Parker also has held opponents to a .156 batting average and has a WHIP of 0.73.

Mike Morin, who has pitched for the Angels most of the last two seasons out of the bullpen had a scoreless 5th inning lowering his Spring ERA to 4.35. Morin was hopeful of regaining his form and earning a spot in the Angels bullpen, but that seems like a longshot at this point. Deolis Guerra, Austin Adams, and Jose Valdez all followed pitching clean innings before Cody Ege allowed a ninth homer to Austin Barnes to bring the Dodgers within one before Justin Miller closed the game out recording the final two outs in the ninth.

Offensively C.J. Cron continued his stellar Spring with a two-run single that gave the Angels a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Cron is hitting .314 with four homers and 11 RBI’s this Spring and will start the season in a familiar spot; first base.  Will he keep that spot after Luis Valbuena comes off the disabled list most likely in early May is anyone’s guess.

Cameron Maybin, who will most likely start the season as the primary left fielder, has come out of his early Spring slump going 8 for his last 27 (.296 average) since an 0 for 20 start.  Maybin single to drive in pinch-runner Rey Navarro from second to give the Angels a key insurance run.

On Friday night it was the Dodgers turn to get strong pitching as they held the Angels to six hits and only ninth inning run to even the series at one game a piece.  Rich Hill who pitched well last season for the Dodgers down the stretch and in the playoffs pitched 3.2 innings of shut out baseball with two strikeouts.

The Angels Garrett Richards matched Hill for three innings before allowing a fourth inning homer to Justin Turner for his only blemish of the evening. Both Richards and Hill have struggled to find themselves this Spring, but each pitcher took a big step forward on Friday night.

Bedrosian, Bud Norris, and JC Ramirez all threw scoreless innings before Kirby Yates gave up two runs in the eighth giving the Dodgers some insurance and a 3-0 lead.  Parker struck out the side again in the ninth for the second straight night, but the Angels ninth rally came up two runs short.

Tonight in the final exhibition game this time at Dodger Stadium Jesse Chavez, who pitched for the Dodgers last season, will get his final chance to prove that he is indeed ready to assume the 5th starter spot in the Angels rotation.  He will face former teammate both in LA and in Oakland, Brandon McCarthy who is also looking to prove himself to his club that he is completely healthy.

So without any further adieu Let’s Get it On.