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Dodgers, Angels Launch Pennant Drives

 

July 31, 2014

Clayton Kershaw

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

It’s not a lot of fun being hospitalized following surgery but idle time is available.

My choice the last month was to focus on baseball, especially because the Dodgers and Angels are doing well. All opinions, of course, come from someone watching on television, listening to radio rather than being at the games along with getting information from colleagues on the phone.

Nobody in either the National or American League Is running away from the field. Parity is the proper decryption of this season’s pennant races

But lately the Dodgers and Angels have moved up a notch and established themselves as serious contenders.

A Freeway World Series? It’s too early to forecast such a thing but fans can hope.

Earlier this season I thought the Giants might be better than the Dodgers. But the Giants have had serious injuries, losing Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, then going through a batch of second base replacements without success.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ high-priced roster is flexing its muscles and more often playing as a team.

The Dodgers aren’t consistent but they’ve learned to work better together and appreciate Dee Gordon’s contributions as the leadoff man.

Another plus is Carl Crawford’s superb outfield play. He has recovered very well from an early season ankle injury.

The Dodgers spent so much money on players they don’t need all of them to be doing well.

The Dodgers are far more talented than the Giant as at the end of July and have baseball’s ultimate weapon in Clayton Kershaw.

In Orange County the Angels are staying in the American league race with new players making important contributions.

Mike Trout

Garrett Richards won 10 games and barely missed being chosen for the All-Star game. Cole Calhoun has become an important outfielder. Eric Aybar, a good shortstop, is much more than that now. He has become of the league’s top players.

And then of course, there are the stars, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Recognizing that they’re a contender, the Angels recently acquired well-established closer Huston Street.

The Angels showed me a lot last weekend when they won the final three games from the Detroit Tigers after losing the first one.

The Angels’ next task is to confront the impressive Baltimore Orioles on their home field this weekend.

It’ll be another challenge, but that’s what you have to expect at this stage of the season.

With Street joining Joe Smith in the bullpen the Angels are well prepared for the battles.

 

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