When the Dodgers won the 2020 World Series, it was the first time a team from Los Angeles had won a Major League Baseball championship since the then Anaheim Angels took home the trophy in 2002.Before that, a team from Los Angeles had not won the Fall Classic since 1988.
Los Angeles has always loved the Dodgers. Until recently, though, the Dodgers were more of a distraction between the Los Angeles Lakers and University of Southern California football.
The Angels were the baseball version of the Clippers. Sure, baseball fans would watch the Angels play, and L.A.’s secondary baseball squad had their hardcore backers, but the enthusiasm never approached that of the Dodgers’ fan base.
Based on early returns, 2021 could be a banner year for baseball in the City of Angels. The Dodgers have the best record in April while the Angels appear to be a legitimate contender to win the AL West and end their playoff drought, according to the odds at BetOnline!
Check out a deeper dive into why Major League Baseball could finally see a Freeway Series between the L.A. Dodgers and the L.A. Angels.
Few teams can beat the Dodgers
So far, the Los Angeles Dodgers have proven to be the juggernaut of a team, so many believed they were earlier in the season. Granted, they are not unbeatable.
No baseball team is. When you play 162 games in a season, you are bound to lose games. But the Dodgers’ current record suggests they will blow through the 100-game threshold.
One hundred games is a mental barrier that, when passed, often boosts a team’s confidence heading to the postseason. But the Dodgers do not require confidence boosters because they may have both the best starting rotation and the besting batting lineup in the league.
Starting rotation solid from first to fifth
The San Diego Padres recently prevented a Dodgers’ sweep. The loss was LAD’s third of the season.
Which Dodgers’ starter bombed against the rival Padres? None.
When 2020 Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer left the game in the sixth inning, he had given up a single earned run off 3 hits. Bauer had struck out 7 and posted a 2.42 ERA.
LAD lists Bauer second on their depth chart. Clayton Kershaw, a 2.19 ERA, and Walker Buehler, a 2.00 ERA, bookend Bauer in the rotation.
Fourth starter Julio Urias is 2-0 and has a 3.86 ERA. Fifth starter Dustin May is 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ run differential is the best in Major League Baseball
At +38, the Dodgers are 14 runs better than the next team in the majors, the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds.Los Angeles’ bats have been hot all season.
They should remain hot during the summer and into the fall. As a team, LAD ranks fifth in batting average but first in on-base percentage plus slugging (OPS).
Mookie Betts, a preseason favorite to win the NL MVP, has yet to hit his stride. Betts is batting .273.
Once Betts gets it going, who knows how many runs the Dodgers will produce?
Angels hired Curse of the Goat ending Joe Maddon
After the 2019 season, the Chicago Cubs manager left the Windy City for the City of Angels. Almost every baseball fan knew hiring Joe Maddon would upgrade L.A.’s other baseball team.
COVID prevented Maddon from playing the team he wanted to play. In 2021, Maddon hasn’t had such issues.
As of April 19, the Los Angeles Angels are a half a game behind fellow surprise team Seattle atop the AL West. Most do not believe the Mariners will remain in first place.
Many believe the Angels will. As always, LAA’s path to success starts with arguably the best baseball player since Mickey Mantle, the great Mike Trout.
Yet to turn thirty years old, Trout is a lifetime .305 hitter. As of April 18, he’s blasted 306 home runs, has accrued 1,397 hits, has driven in 808 runs, and has a 1.002 OPS.
Trout has a .386 batting average in 2021. Overall, the Angels rank third in runs and batting average.
Ohtani a monster at the plate and on the mound
Listed as a designated hitter, Shohei Ohtani is finally living up to his billing. Under Maddon’s direction, Ohtani has produced a 1.93 ERA in his 4.2 innings thrown.
Maddon is taking his time developing Ohtani into every five-day starter. The Angels have reaped the benefits of having Ohtani at the plate, though.
The Oshu, Japan native is batting .333. He’s hit 4 home runs and 12 RBIs. His OPS this season is 1.076.
If Ohtani develops into every five-day starter, Maddon could have his second-best hitter and his ace starting pitcher in the same player.
The Dodgers’ and Angels’ success makes Los Angeles sports fans giddy
Sportsbook owners, those who provide free bookie software to handicappers, via companies like Pay Per Head, are seeing money flow to the Dodgers and the Angeles to win the World Series. LAD should remain the outright favorite from now until the playoffs start.
If Shohei Ohtani starts dominating on the mound the way he does at the plate, the Angels could become the team to beat in the American League. Los Angeles sports fans are wringing their hands in anticipation of a potential Freeway Series.