The Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers competed in a three-game series at Dodgers Stadium last weekend. The Angels have been beating up on the boys in blue lately. They won the last six games at Dodgers Stadium, including the first two games of the Freeway Series. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they were able to end a three-game losing streak with the win, but they are still nine games under .500.
Dodgers’ lead hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. had a superb game on Sunday going 3 for 5 with two RBIs and preventing his team from a sweep against the Angels when he singled home Trent Oeltjen with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, giving the Dodgers a memorable 3-2 victory over the Angels. Sunday afternoon Gwynn’s name was abruptly changed to Hero.
After a much-talked-about bullpen matchup between Angels Jered Weaver and Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, the two aces didn’t dissatisfy their fans in the series finale on Sunday. Kershaw struck out 11 and walked zero. Weaver struck out four and walked one. Kershaw now leads the National League West with 128 strikeouts. He cruised past Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay, who now holds the second-best record in the NL West of 123.
Fill-in Minor League umpire Chris Conroy didn’t show any sympathy for Dodger fans on Saturday. Conroy ejected Dodgers superstar Matt Kemp in game two of the series for supposedly arguing ball and strike calls. Conroy called two questionable strikes on Kemp in the fifth inning, which led to a strikeout. Kemp disagreed with the calls but waited until he got in the dugout to express his emotions. The umpire stared Kemp down and immediately ejected him after he flipped his bat. Kemp then sprinted back to Conroy, gesturing before being joined by manager Don Mattingly to debate the call. This was Kemp’s third ejection of his career.
In the locker room after the game, Mattingly told the media how he felt about Kemp’s early discharge from the game.
“The people really come to see Matt play,” Mattingly said. “Matt wasn’t screaming or cursing or anything else. For me, I don’t understand how you throw a guy out for that if he isn’t cursing.”
The Freeway Series is something positive for the players and fans, being that both clubs are located in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. It helps build a local fan base for both teams, and it also draws a lot of excitement to see two home teams compete against one another. The Angels are wearing the crown in the interleague rivalry that started back in 1962 with a 46-34 record against the Dodgers.
In the locker room before the game, Angel outfielder Torii Hunter talked about how much he appreciated the Angels fans for their support.
“I love to see our fans out there bleeding red when we are playing our neighbors,” Hunter said. “This rivalry is all for fun, but at the end of the day we want to come out on top.”