The annual Freeway Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels has come and gone. Yes, I know that the Angels technically aren’t called “Anaheim,” but I’m a father and I have laid down some strict rules for my two sons, like:
- Never hit a lady (notice, I didn’t say “woman,” just “lady.”)
- Always say “sir” and “ma’am” to your elders.
- As long as you’re living under my roof, you are never allowed to utter the following words in the same sentence – “Los Angeles” and “Angels.”
Back to the story … so, the Angels took two-of-three games from the Dodgers this week. The losses were only by one run, and obviously could have gone either way. A three-game set in a 162-game season doesn’t mean much in June.
Does that mean that we can’t learn anything from the recently completed Freeway Series?
We can probably learn some things about the Angels from the series, but that would require that I care about them, so no. However, we can learn some things about the Dodgers from this short stretch of a long season:
- The Dodgers’ starting pitching is alright – In the three games against the Angels, the starting pitchers for the Dodgers tossed 19 innings and only allowed three earned runs. Nathan Eovaldi and Aaron Harang each went seven innings, with Harang not allowing a single run and Eovaldi only giving up one. Also in the series, both of the losses for the Dodgers went to the bullpen (both to Kenley Jansen).
- A.J. Ellis, I owe you an apology – Before the 2012 season started, I was disappointed that the Dodgers let former catcher Rod Barajas go to the Pittsburgh Pirates via free agency. I was also disappointed that the Dodgers didn’t try to sign another catcher other than Matt Treanor. I even wrote on Through The Fence Baseball that Ellis was a career backup catcher for a reason. I officially owe Ellis an apology.In the Freeway Series, all Ellis did was get on base. In 11 at-bats against the Angels, Ellis got on base seven times. Seven. He only had one hit, but he walked six times! Every time I’ve seen Ellis bat this season, he has done one thing – get ahead in the count. Maybe a career in the minor leagues will force you to have plate discipline, but whatever the reason, I love A.J. Ellis!
Ellis has hit six homers and has driven in 25 runs this season, with a .303 average and a staggering .436 on base percentage. Another amazing stat about Ellis is the fact he has drawn 37 walks this season. Dee Gordon, who can trot faster than Ellis can run, is supposed to get on base and draw walks in the leadoff position. So, how has Gordon compared with Ellis in getting free passes to first base? Gordon has only walked 14 times, compared to the 37 for Ellis.
- When the Dodgers get timely hits, they win – In the lone victory over the Angels, the Dodgers got hits when they needed to – when runners were on base. In the two losses, they didn’t. The Dodgers only scored a total of three runs in the two losses, and they also left 17 runners on base. This is a perfect example that you don’t necessarily need to get a lot of hits to win, you just need to get them when it counts.