The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the LA Angels in the 2017 Freeway Series

Jun 28, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Ben Revere (25) heads to home to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Revere scored on a wild pitch third strike and a throwing error. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Ben Revere (25) heads to home to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Revere scored on a wild pitch third strike and a throwing error. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

The annual Freeway Series between the LA Angels and the Dodgers took place this week in both Los Angeles and Anaheim.  For four days Southern California’s two baseball teams battled  in four games.  Here is the recap of the series.

The LA Angels started out the series against their LA Neighbors on Monday and the series concluded last night in Anaheim with both teams winning two games each.  There were many highs and lows during the series.  So without any further adieu here are my take-aways from the series.

The Good:

The best thing about the series for the Angels was the strong starting pitching they received from Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer, and Jesse Chavez.  Nolasco was unbelievable as he had his best outing of the season throwing 6.1 innings of shutout baseball against the Dodgers striking out five and walking two.

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Nolasco was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak with a lofty 5.23 ERA.  However, on Monday night you could not tell as Nolasco was in control throughout handcuffing the vaunted Dodger line-up who had been averaging over seven runs a game during a 10-game winning streak.

Nolasco could have pitched longer if it wasn’t for consecutive balls hit up the middle Yasiel Puig and then Enrique Hernandez that caromed off Nolasco’s glove and then his leg putting runners at second and third with one out. After Hernandez’s line drive Angels manager Mike Scioscia and the training staff came out onto the field and Scioscia made the call to the Angels bullpen for Cam Bedrosian.

Bedrosian came in and picked Nolasco up striking out pinch-hitter Mike Freeman and then Chase Utley to keep the Dodgers at bay preserving a 3-0 Angels lead.  Keynan Middledton pitched a scoreless 8th inning and then after a Martin Maldonado extended the Angels lead to 4-0, David Hernandez closed the door with a scoreless ninth helping the Angels snap the Dodgers 10-game winning streak to draw first blood in the series.

The Angels dropped game two of the series despite a strong outing by Jesse Chavez who shut the Dodgers down for the first five innings before being touched for two runs in a four-run Dodger sixth. The four runs backed the Dodgers Kenta Maeda‘s strong pitching performance that helped the Dodgers split in Los Angeles with a 4-0 victory.

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That moves us to the two games in Anaheim with rookie Alex Meyer squaring off with Hyun Jin-Ryu and despite being somewhat wild, the 6’7 Meyer was lights out.  Meyer allowed only one hit in six shutout innings despite walking five Dodger batters.  The sixth inning was again the big inning, this time for the Angels as Andrelton Simmons connected on his eighth homer of the season to left giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.

The ball was turned over to the vaunted Angels bullpen which saw Yusmeiro Petit and Keynan Middleton allow only one run, a Trayce Thompson solo shot in the eighth in getting the ball to Cam Bedrosian with a 2-1 lead in the ninth.

Bedrosian looked sharp retiring the first two Dodger batters easily before Yasmani Grandal came up. Grandal worked the count to 3-2 and then unloaded on a Bedrosian mistake depositing the ball over the centerfield wall to tie the game at 2.

However, as they have done so many times this season the Angels dusted themselves off and came back in the bottom of the ninth to win in walk-off fashion. Ben Revere reached first on a Hernandez error, then went to second on a wild pitch by Pedro Baez. What happened next was a scene out of a Twilight Zone show as Cameron Maybin struck out, but the ball again eluded Grandal allowing Revere to get to third.  Maybin instead of running to first stood at the plate not sure of what was going on.

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Grandal then double-clutched his throw to first and threw it wildly allowing Revere to scamper home with the winning run sending the 45,000 + crowd at Angel Stadium into a frenzy. This win guaranteed the Angels a split in the series with the Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitching in the finale.

The best thing for the Angels in this series was definitely their starting pitching despite J.C. Ramirez‘s sub-par outing in the finale,  the Angel starters allowed nine earned runs in four games (2.25 runs per contest) to a team that came in averaging  more than seven runs per game in the previous 10 games.  The Bullpen was also superb despite blowing the save Wednesday, the pen gave up four runs in 10 innings of work.

The Bad

The bad things I saw in the series were minimal compared to the positives. The most glaring issue has been a season long one which is an inconsistent offense.  Scoring nine runs in four games is not going to cut it very often, but the Angels were able to gain a split with two wins. Despite the low run output, the Angels did come through multiple times in the clutch.

A two-out two run single by Yunel Escobar was a key hit in the game one victory. Simmons two-run homer in the third game put the Angels in front of a game they would eventually win in the ninth. However, there were numerous times when the offense did not get the clutch hit in the two loses.  In order for the Angels to make a run for the wild-card they have get more consistency.

The other issue I saw was a sub-par outing for J.C. Ramirez who gave up six runs in 5.2 innings Thursday night.  Ramirez has been superb lately or he has been rocked around no middle ground in his last five outings.  The Angels need him to be more consistent.


The only ugly things I saw were the bench-clearing brawl between the two teams last night which was minor in comparison to other brawls we have seen recently.  The other was Monday night’s brawl in the left field pavilion between Angels and Dodgers fans that left one Angel fan bloodied from the melee which made the local news Monday night.

There is n place for violence between fans and it seems that Dodger fans seem to be the always involved when we hear about these disputes.  The Dodgers organization has taken a lot of measures to make their stadium safer, but they cant prevent every incident from getting out of hand. Hopefully fans on both sides will learn to not take the rivalry too far.

Next: Ricky Nolasco still has confidence of team

In all it was an entertaining series between two good baseball teams. Hopefully we could see a Freeway Series match-up one day in the World Series.  It could happen!!!!! Maybe even this year.