Preview: Dodgers Try To Avoid Season Sweep In Freeway Series
Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy receives a throw at second base
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

If the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers resembled Superman on their rise to the best record in baseball, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been their kryptonite. The Angels have won all three games between the crosstown rivals and now go for a sweep of the season series.

Ross Stripling takes the mound for the Dodgers, looking to build on his two best starts of the season, both of which came during the team’s road trip to play the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies just after the All-Star break.

Stripling went five innings in each of those outings, allowing a combined of four runs (three earned) while striking out 12.

However, the Angels have hit him well in the past, as Stripling enters with a 5.11 ERA over 12.1 career innings. That is Stripling’s highest ERA against any opponent he has faced more than three times.

Making matters worse for Stripling, the Angels’ best player — and the best player in baseball — enters on a white-hot tear. Mike Trout is doing amazing things, even by his standards, in the month of July.

Trout has 11 home runs in his last 13 games, including a moonshot of Kenta Maeda during Tuesday night’s 5-4 win.

Over that stretch, Trout is batting .320/.397/1.040. He also had a key outfield putout on Tuesday, nailing Max Muncy at home on a Corey Seager single to preserve the Angels’ 1-0 lead at the time.

However, Kole Calhoun outdid Trout on Tuesday, as his solo shot held up as the game’s winning run, and his throw to nail Cody Bellinger at home in the bottom of the ninth sealed the Angels’ victory in dramatic fashion.

Calhoun now has a .969 career on-base plus slugging percentage against the Dodgers, by far his highest career OPS against a team he has played at least 10 games against.

Both of those assists came partially thanks to risky decisions from Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel, who knows both Trout and Calhoun well. Before rejoining the Dodgers this season, Ebel was the longest-tenured coach on longtime Angels manager Mike Soscia’s staff and mentored both Trout and Calhoun.

Angels swingman Jaime Barria takes the mound to face Stripling, sporting a 7.36 ERA and coming off his roughest outing of the season. Barria came out of the bullpen on July 19 and allowed 10 earned runs over 3.2 innings to the Seattle Mariners, which proved the difference in a 10-0 Angels loss.

Dodgers lineup:

LF: Joc Pederson
1B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
RF: Cody Bellinger
CF: A.J. Pollock
SS: Corey Seager
2B: Kiké Hernandez
C: Austin Barnes
P: Ross Stripling

Angels lineup:

3B: David Fletcher
CF: Mike Trout
LF: Justin Upton
RF: Kole Calhoun
1B: Albert Pujols
SS: Andrelton Simmons
2B: Luis Rengifo
C: Kevan Smith
P: Jaime Barria