Greinke, Richards square off in Freeway Series opener
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Dodgers have to feel good about their chances of rebounding on Monday night with Zack Greinke set to take the mound.
For the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they might be wondering if the fun ride is over for Garrett Richards.
The two hurlers square off on Monday night when the Dodgers and Angels kick off their four-game home-and-home Freeway Series. The first two games take place at Chavez Ravine before the set moves to Anaheim for two contests starting on Wednesday.
It's not a stretch to view this series as a possible World Series preview. Though the Angels are second in the AL West, their 66-44 mark is the second best in their league. The problem for the club is that Oakland is 67-43 and one game up on the Angels for first place.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, are 2 1/2 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants for the top spot in the National League West and have the NL's top mark at 63-49.
Greinke has been a big part of that success, going 12-6 with a 2.65 earned run average this year. He put together another dominating outing on Wednesday versus Atlanta despite a no-decision as he struck out 13 batters over eight innings while scattering a run, five hits and one walk.
"It was a good game all-around," Greinke said. "I was locating pretty good. I had a good game plan. A lot of stuff came together tonight."
Greinke's effort came five days after he struck out 10 over seven scoreless frames to beat the Giants.
The 30-year-old righty is 1-4 with a 4.10 ERA in nine previous games (8 starts) versus the Angels, who he made 13 starts with in 2012 before signing with the Dodgers.
Richards, meanwhile, has been one of baseball's biggest surprises with an 11-4 mark and 2.74 ERA on the year. His 22 starts are a career high and he was just 11-13 in 84 games (29 starts) coming into this season.
Richards, though, has lost back-to-back outings for the first time this season, yielding four runs in both; a 6-4 loss to Detroit on July 24 and a 4-3 setback in Baltimore on Wednesday.
The right-hander did log seven innings of work versus the Orioles despite giving up a two-run homer in the first inning and also did not walk a batter.
"I had good stuff tonight. They just had some timely hits," Richards said.
Richards, 26, has a 2.63 ERA in four career meetings with the Dodgers, including two starts, without a decision.
The Angels have won six of their last nine and held on to beat Tampa Bay 7-5 on Sunday to win the three-game set. They scored five times in the first inning and Jered Weaver allowed two runs over six innings.
"I thought on the offensive side even past the first inning we did a good job," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Did well with runners in scoring position."
It wasn't the greatest weekend for the Dodgers, who took a six-game winning streak into a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs and lost two of three. That includes a 7-3 setback on Sunday as Josh Beckett yielded three runs over just four-plus innings.
"For Josh, it was a little rough," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "A lot of pitches to get through innings. We just didn't have much energy today."
Matt Kemp has had plenty of energy as of late for the Dodgers. He homered on Sunday and is batting .389 with four home runs and eight RBI in his last five games.
08/04 10:30:19 ET