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Dodgers lose series finale to Angels, 2-1

Dodger offense leaves 12 runners on base and finish road trip 2-8.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer delivers against the Angels on Sunday.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

The Dodgers go one for 11 with runners in scoring position and lose two of three games to the Angels.

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Dodgers fall to Angels, 2-1, leave two on in top of the ninth

Dodgers: Right-hander Raisel Iglesias now pitching for the Angels. Lux struck out swinging. Betts walked. Seager singled just past Gosselin at third and into left, Betts stopping at second. Turner flied to right. Smith grounded to third.

Final score: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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We head to the ninth, 2-1 Angels

Dodgers: Right-hander Mike Mayers now pitching for the Angels. Muncy struck out swinging. Taylor walked. Matt Beaty, batting for Neuse, struck out looking. Keibert Ruiz, batting for Peters, struck out swinging. The Dodgers have left 10 men on base and are one for nine with runners in scoring position.

Angels: Betts to right. Turner to third (so they lose the DH and the pitcher has to bat). Taylor to center. Beaty in at left. Right-hander Kenley Jansen now pitching for the Dodgers. Fletcher singled. Ohtani flied to center. With Trout batting, Fletcher stole second and took third on Smith’s throwing error. Trout struck out swinging. Huge out. Walsh was walked intentionally and stole second during the next at-bat. Lagares struck out swinging. Nice pitching by Jansen.

Score after eight: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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We’re through seven: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

Dodgers: Juan Lagares in to play left field. Left-hander Tony Watson now pitching for the Angels. Seager singled to right-center. Turner flied to right. Smith grounded into a 4-3 double play. It appears the Dodgers’ offensive woes weren’t solved yesterday.

Angels: Left-hander Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Rojas grounded to first. Ward grounded to third. Gosselin hit a grounder up the middle. Seager snagged it, but there was no play to be made. Butera struck out looking.

Score after seven: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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Dodgers leave two on in sixth, trail 2-1

Dodgers: Taylor walked. Dodgers need to start turning these walks into runs. Neuse popped to short on a 2-0 count. Let’s see, just walked a guy, 2-0 on the next batter, sure, go ahead and swing. With Peters up, the Angels called for a pitch out, their second one of the inning. You can go weeks without seeing a pitch out, and here are two within three pitches of each other. Peters walked. First and second, one out. Left-hander Alex Claudio replaces Slegers. Lux flied to deep center, Taylor to third. Two out. Betts grounded to third. Wasted opportunity there.

Angels: Trout struck out swinging. Walsh struck out looking. Upton grounded to second. Through six innings, Bauer has given up two runs, four hits and two walks while striking out nine. He has made 113 pitches, so that may be it for him.

Score after six: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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Still 2-1 Angels after five innings

Dodgers: Jose Quintana has given up only one hit, but has walked five. Seager doubled down the right-field line, and that’s it for Quintana, who leaves after his best outing of the year. Right-hander Aaron Slegers replaces him. Taylor grounded to short. Smith flied to right. Muncy grounded to second.

Angels: Butera flied to right. Fletcher struck out swinging. Ohtani struck out swinging.

Score after five: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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Uneventful fourth inning, still 2-1 Angels

Dodgers: DJ Peters struck out looking. Lux grounded to first. Betts struck out swinging.

Angels: Rojas lined to center. Walsh flied to left. Gosselin flied to right.

Score after four: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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Angels take 2-1 lead on Jared Walsh’s double

Dodgers: Seager struck out swinging. Turner walked. Smith struck out swinging. Muncy walked. Five walks for Quintana. Taylor singled to center, scoring Turner, Muncy to second. Neuse flied to right. Quintana has made 80 pitches through three innings.

Angels: Phil Gosselin singled to center. Drew Butera struck out swinging. With Fletcher batting, Gosselin was caught stealing. Fletcher beat out a slow roller to short. Lux made a nice effort, but the ball was hit too slowly. Ohtani walked on five pitches. Trout walked on five pitches, loading the bases with two out. on a 3-2 pitch, Walsh hit a ground-rule double to deep right, scoring Fletcher and Ohtani. Upton struck out swinging.

Score after three: Angels 2, Dodgers 1

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There is no score after two innings

Dodgers: Sheldon Neuse struck out swinging. DJ Peters grounded to the pitcher. Gavin Lux hit a grounder to first that clanked off of Walsh’s glove for an error. Betts flied to right.

Angels: Justin Upton struck out looking. Jose Rojas struck out swinging on 10 pitches. Taylor Ward grounded to short.

Score after two: Dodgers 0, Angels 0

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Dodgers leave bases loaded in first inning

Dodgers: Left-hander Jose Quintana pitching for the Angels. Mookie Betts walked on 10 pitches. Corey Seager strikes out swinging. With Justin Turner batting, Betts took second on a wild pitch. Turner walked. Will Smith popped to third. Two walks, and you swing at the first pitch. Max Muncy walked on six pitches. Chris Taylor lined to left. Quintana made 30 pitches that inning.

Angels: Right-hander Trevor Bauer pitching for the Dodgers. David Fletcher flied to right. Shohei Ohtani beat out a roller to short. Mike Trout grounded to short, Ohtani to second. Jared Walsh struck out looking.

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Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw talk about Saturday’s 14-11 win

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No end in sight for runway of struggling second baseman Gavin Lux

Gavin Lux throws to first base
Gavin Lux
(Associated Press)

Dave Roberts indicated in early March that Gavin Lux would be his starting second baseman this season, the Dodgers manager saying he could see the Baseball America 2019 minor league player of the year “getting a good runway, playing regularly.”

But with Lux entering Sunday’s Freeway Series finale against the Angels with a .220 average, .539 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, no homers, one double and eight RBIs in 24 games, it was fair to ask Roberts how long that runway is.

“I don’t think you can really define what it is,” Roberts said. “For me, the defense has been very consistent. I see the at-bat quality getting better each day. And it’s not really, in Gavin’s particular case, about results. So I don’t really think there’s a game or a stat line that I’m looking at, to be honest.”

Lux hit .333 (eight for 24) with two triples on the team’s season-opening road trip to Colorado and Oakland, but in his last 17 games before Sunday, Lux hit .172 (10 for 58) with a .399 OPS, 18 strikeouts and three walks.

According to Fangraphs, Lux has swung at 32.1% of the pitches he has seen outside of the strike zone, up from 25.5% last season, but he’s also swinging at 72.4% of the pitches he’s seen inside the zone, up from 62.5%.

His line-drive percentage has jumped from 13.6% in 2020 to 24.6% this season, but according to advanced metrics, he has yet to “barrel” a ball this season.

The left-handed-hitting Lux entered 2020 as a National League rookie-of-the-year candidate but reported late to summer camp for undisclosed reasons and did not make the opening-day roster for the pandemic-shortened 60-game season.

He was called up from the team’s alternate training site at USC in late-July and hit only .175 (11 for 63) with a .596 OPS and two homers in 24 games.

Could Lux be putting too much pressure on himself this season to be the star many projected he would be?

“I think there was some of that in the past, and possibly last year,” Roberts said. “I think the last couple of weeks, he’s just gotten back to being himself, and if you take away the scoreboard, if you look at the at-bat quality, the quality of contact, he’s doing things individually to help us win ballgames.”

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The Dodgers wish moms a Happy Mother’s Day

The Dodgers took to Twitter on Sunday to wish moms a Happy Mother’s Day, and included pictures of current Dodgers with their wives or moms. Take a look:

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Alex Cobb expects short IL stint; Angels undecided on Monday pitching plans

Angels pitcher Alex Cobb throws to the plate.
Alex Cobb
(Associated Press)

Angels starting pitcher Alex Cobb doesn’t expect to be out long with a right middle finger blister that forced him to go on the injured list this week. The right-hander said he anticipates he’ll make his next appearance during the team’s upcoming road trip, when he will be eligible to return during next weekend’s series in Boston.

Cobb has been dealing with a blister since early in the season. Last month, the Angels pushed back one of his starts a couple days because of it. But Saturday was the first time Cobb has landed on the injured list this year, a move that was retroactive to May 5.

“It’s one of those situations that you don’t want to ... go out there and have it bust open in the first inning, or you aren’t able to do it, and then you crush the bullpen and have to make up a lot of innings,” Cobb said. “This was probably the best move, just to get me a few extra days.”

Cobb was lined up to start Monday’s series opener in Houston. The Angels have not yet decided who will pitch instead. José Suarez is one option after being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, but Maddon said Suarez would also be available out of the bullpen Sunday and that the team would wait until after the series finale against the Dodgers to finalize Monday’s pitching plan. Maddon even left open the possibility of a bullpen game.

Cobb said he’s battled blisters throughout his career, something he thinks is caused by the amount of pressure he puts on the ball with his fingers while throwing his two-seam fastball and curveball. Usually, he can simply drain a blister between starts and be good to go. But this time, his finger was more irritated than usual.

“It’ll stay all year, it’s just about managing it,” Cobb said, later adding: “My brother makes fun of me for missing games because of a blister. It sounds so wimpy. But it really affects each pitch and your ability to execute it.”

In other Angels pitching news, left-handed reliever Tony Watson was reinstated from the injured list prior to Sunday’s game. Reliever Félix Peña was optioned after giving up five runs in a 45-pitch inning Saturday night.

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Dodgers LF AJ Pollock, Angels SS Jose Iglesias to sit out Freeway Series finale

Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock (11) in the first inning of a baseball game Friday.
AJ Pollock
(Associated Press)

Neither Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock, who left Friday night’s game because of a mild left-hamstring strain, nor Angels shortstop Jose Iglesias, who left Saturday night’s game because of a back issue, are in the lineup for Sunday’s Freeway Series finale in Angel Stadium.

Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer will oppose Angels left-hander Jose Quintana in the 1 p.m. game.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he will “stay away” from using Pollock on Sunday and will make a lineup decision for Tuesday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners after Pollock receives treatment on Monday’s off-day.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said Iglesias is “moving slowly” but feels better than he did after Saturday night’s 14-11 loss to the Dodgers. The Angels will fly to Houston after today’s game, which could exacerbate Iglesias’ condition.

Before Sunday’s game, the Angels recalled left-hander Jose Suarez from triple-A Salt Lake, reinstated left-hander Tony Watson from the injured list and optioned right-hander Felix Pena, who gave up five runs and four hits in one inning Saturday night, back to Salt Lake.

The lineups for today’s game:

DODGERS

CF Mookie Betts

SS Corey Seager

DH Justin Turner

C Will Smith

1B Max Muncy

LF Chris Taylor

3B Sheldon Neuse

RF DJ Peters

2B Gavin Lux

RHP Trevor Bauer

ANGELS

SS David Fletcher

DH Shohei Ohtani

CF Mike Trout

1B Jared Walsh

LF Justin Upton

2B Jose Rojas

RF Taylor Ward

3B Phil Gosselin

C Drew Butera

LHP Jose Quintana

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Dodgers build huge lead, almost blow it in wacky, 14-11 win over Angels

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hits a run-scoring double against the Angels during the Dodgers' 14-11 win.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hits a run-scoring double against the Angels during the Dodgers’ 14-11 win Saturday.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Some were hit hard, firm line drives and loud fly balls scattered around the park.

Some rolled along the ground, weak contact that kept on finding the right spots.

Once they started, they didn’t stop. Batter after batter. Hit after hit. Run scored after run scored.

During the Dodgers’ 13-run explosion between the fourth and fifth innings Saturday night at Angel Stadium, which proved to be critical in a wacky 14-11 win over the Angels, the lineup didn’t hit a home run. Matt Beaty and Justin Turner produced the only doubles.

Instead, a team that in recent weeks had struggled to string together hits, failed to manufacture runs and sputtered at the plate suddenly snapped back to life.

Eight runs, eight hits and three walks in the fourth. Five runs, four hits and three walks in the fifth.

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Angels reliever Junior Guerra gets out of bases-loaded jam in the eighth

The Dodgers threatened to score again in the top half of the inning until Junior Guerra struck out Keibert Ruiz with the bases loaded for the final out.

Victor González gave the Dodgers a much-needed 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half to send the 25-run scoring fest to the ninth.

End of eighth: Dodgers 14, Angels 11

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Jose Rojas hits three-run home run as part of a seven-run inning for Angels

Jose Rojas (18) celebrates with Phil Gosselin (13) and Taylor Ward (3) after hitting a three-run home run.
Jose Rojas (18) celebrates with Phil Gosselin (13) and Taylor Ward (3) after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh for the Angels on Saturday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Jose Rojas hit a three-run home run off Garrett Cleavinger to make it 14-11 Dodgers in the seventh inning.

Before the Rojas’ blast — the first of his major-league career — the Angels were already rallying. Juan Lagares hit a two-run double and Jared Walsh and Taylor Ward each hit run-scoring singles earlier as part of a seven-run inning.

Mitch White gave up five consecutive hits as part of a two-out rally by the Angels before being pulled in favor of Cleavinger, who struck out Kurt Suzuki after the Rojas homer to end the inning.

Lagares drove in Shohei Ohtani and Jon Jay for the first two runs of the inning before scoring on Walsh’s single to right-center. Taylor Ward then drove in Walsh two at-bats later on single to center.

The Dodgers led 13-0 after five innings before the Angels rally. The largest comeback in MLB history is 12 runs — can the Angels make history?

End of seventh: Dodgers 14, Angels 11

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Angels manager Joe Maddon ejected after arguing about DJ Peters’ first career hit

DJ Peters’ first major league hit was a standup double that prompted Angels manager Joe Maddon to be ejected from the game in the seventh inning.

Peters’ hit was held up under review after left fielder Jon Jay failed to catch the ball while sliding into foul territory. Maddon argued with three umpires on the field and was ejected despite none of the umps making the classic “Yer outta of here!” reaction on the field.

Peters then scored his first major league run on a Max Muncy single to center to give the Dodgers a 14-4 lead.

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Angels score four runs in the sixth inning

Jared Walsh hit a two-run single and Jon Jay and Taylor Ward also drove in runs for the Angels to make it 13-4 in the sixth inning.

Kurt Suzuki, who walked to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a groundout by David Fletcher and a single by Shohei Ohtani before scoring on Jay’s infield blooper. Jay and Ohtani then scored on Walsh’s single to center.

Walsh’s single ended Santana’s brief stint in relief of Clayton Kershaw. Mitch White replaced Santana on the mound and walked Phil Gosselin to load the bases before Juan Lagares drove in the final run of the inning of a sacrifice fly to left.

End of sixth: Dodgers 13, Angels 4

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Dodgers continue to dominate against Angels, lead 13-0 in fifth

Mookie Betts scores a run in the fourth inning for the Dodgers on Saturday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Mookie Betts and Will Smith each hit a two-run singles and Justin Turner hit an RBI double off Angels reliever Felix Peña to give the Dodgers an 13-0 lead in the fifth inning.

Betts has four RBIs in the game. He drove in Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty, who led off the inning with walks. Turner’s hit to left field scored Betts from third.

Smith then singled to right-center to score Corey Seager and Turner as part of the five-run inning. After 45 pitches, the inning finally came to an end for Peña when he struck out Taylor.

After walking Jared Walsh, Clayton Kershaw retired the next three Angels batters. In between innings, TV cameras caught Kershaw having a somewhat animated conversation with manager Dave Roberts in the dugout. Dennis Santana then took over on the mound in the sixth for the Dodgers.

Kershaw allowed two hits and struck out five over five innings — a good bounceback game for the veteran lefty.

End of fifth: Dodgers 13, Angels 0

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Dodgers surge to 8-0 lead over Angels in the fourth inning

Dodgers teammate Gavin Lux high-fives Max Muncy and Will Smith after they scored off of a line drive by Matt Beaty.
Dodgers teammate Gavin Lux high-fives Max Muncy (13) and Will Smith (16) after they scored off of a line drive by Matt Beaty in the fourth inning.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Max Muncy and Will Smith hit back-to-back run-scoring singles and Matt Beaty hit a two-run double off Angels starter Dylan Bundy to help give the Dodgers a 8-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Mookie Betts, in his second at-bat in the inning, hit a two-run dribbler outside the shift to right field and Austin Barnes and Corey Seager also drove in runs.

Betts scored the game’s first run after he reached first on a leadoff walk. Smith then singled to right to score Seager. Beaty then blasted a full-count changeup off the wall in right field, scoring Muncy and Smith.

Beaty’s hit ended Bundy’s night on the mound, which looked very promising after a solid first three innings. Reliever Steve Cishek fared no better, giving up three hits and two runs while trying to get the final two outs of the inning.

Prior to Muncy’s single, Betts drew plenty of laughs after Angels third baseman Jose Rojas tagged him in a rather sensitive area that earned instant enshrinement in the sports bloopers hall of fame. Betts was fine after taking a brief breather.

In the top of the inning, the Angels got their first hits before Justin Upton grounded into an inning-ending double play. Meanwhile...

End of fourth: Dodgers 8, Angels 0

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Clayton Kershaw and Dylan Bundy putting on a show

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning against the Angels.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw’s knockout pitch — the slider — is looking really good far against an Angels team that is attacking on first pitches tonight.

He struck out Taylor Ward and Jose Rojas before getting Kurt Suzuki to ground out to end the inning.

A fielding error by Angels second baseman David Fletcher allowed Matt Beaty to reach first, but that’s as far as he got after Gavin Lux flied out to center and Austin Barnes hit into a double play.

Kershaw is perfect through three and Angels pitcher Dylan Bundy hasn’t given up a hit.

End of third: Dodgers 0, Angels 0

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Justin Upton just misses out on his second home run of the series

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dylan Bundy (37) throws during the first inning of a baseball game.
Angels starter Dylan Bundy throws against the Dodgers in the first inning Saturday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Justin Upton barely missed out on his second home run in as many games, hitting the ball deep into the left-field corner only for it to be grabbed by Matt Beaty in the warning track.

Other than that, it was pretty ho-hum for Clayton Kershaw in retiring the Angels’ first six.

Dylan Bundy is also showing impressive command so far, retiring the Dodgers in order again with seemingly relative ease.

End of second: Dodgers 0, Angels 0

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Clayton Kershaw doesn’t suffer a repeat of his last Dodgers start

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani splinters his bat after fouling off a pitch in the first inning.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw, pitching for the Dodgers after the shortest outing of his career earlier this week against the Cubs, got off to a more typical start for him against the Angels on Saturday. He retired the side in order, striking out Mike Trout to end the inning.

The Dodgers have won eight consecutive games against the Angels with Kershaw pitching.

Angels starter Dylan Bundy looked strong in the top of the inning, benefiting from a generous third strike call to Mookie Betts.

End of first: Dodgers 0, Angels 0

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Dodgers prefer to keep top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz behind the plate

Los Angeles Dodgers Keibert Ruiz runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs.
Dodgers catcher Keibert Ruiz runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
(David Banks / Associated Press)

Keibert Ruiz has been rated among the Dodgers’ top prospects for several years, a switch-hitting catcher with decent pop from both sides of the plate, but the 22-year-old Venezuelan’s path to a prominent big-league role appears blocked by Will Smith and Austin Barnes, who are sharing catching duties for the Dodgers.

Asked before Saturday night’s game if he’d be willing to play other positions to add to his versatility, Ruiz said, “Yeah, that’s my thought right now. I played outfield when I was 14 years old, with my winter ball team, so why not? I’ll play anywhere to help the team.”

Manager Dave Roberts, however, said the organization’s short-term and long-term plan for Ruiz, who hit home runs in his first at-bats of both 2020 and 2021 for the Dodgers, is to keep him behind the plate.

“I’m not surprised that he’d say he’d play anywhere on the field. He’s a baseball player,” Roberts said. “I think if there’s anywhere else I could see him potentially, it would be first base, but we haven’t gotten to that point. We have some other guys who can play first.”

Ruiz has split his time this season between the team’s alternate training site in Phoenix, where he gets regular at-bats in games and scrimmages, and the taxi squad, joining the Dodgers for road trips but not getting live at-bats.

Asked if the benefits of being around a big-league clubhouse on the road outweigh the developmental benefits of live at-bats in Arizona, Roberts said, “I think the net doesn’t add up, but when you’re talking about the potential for injury, something happening with COVID-19, to have a catcher here is important.

“So if you’re just looking on the surface of making a better ballplayer and taking at-bats, it probably doesn’t add up. But if you bake everything in, it’s something we need to do, and I think we’re doing a good job of getting him at-bats and getting him that experience of going on the road as a big-league ballplayer.”

Ruiz said sitting in on meetings for pitchers and catchers and picking the brains of the team’s pitchers has helped his development.

“I’ve been talking to Austin Barnes about game-planning and asking pitchers what they like to throw, how they like to pitch,” Ruiz said. “Barnes calls a really good game, and having the opportunity to talk to him is really good.”

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Angels place pitcher Alex Cobb on injured list

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Alex Cobb throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game.
Angels starting pitcher Alex Cobb delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Angels placed right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb on the injured list Saturday with a right middle finger blister. The move was retroactive to May 5.

Cobb was lined up to make his next start on Monday against the Houston Astros. The Angels didn’t immediately announce who will now start that game, though left-hander José Suarez was scratched from his scheduled start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday in a potentially related move.

Cobb has a 5.48 ERA in five starts this season. Last month, he had a start pushed back a couple days because of a blister issue.

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Missing luggage and makeshift equipment: Inside Angels catcher Drew Butera’s return to the majors

Los Angeles Angels' Drew Butera runs toward home to score on a single hit by David Fletcher during the second inning.
Drew Butera runs toward home to score for the Angels in the second inning against the Dodgers on Friday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Drew Butera had a decision to make Friday morning.

The night before, the veteran catcher had been in Minnesota as part of the Texas Rangers’ taxi squad, yet to appear in an MLB game this season after signing with the club over the winter. Then he was informed he was being traded, the Angels acquiring him for cash considerations to bolster depth at an injury-depleted position.

Butera flew back to Dallas with the Rangers on Thursday night and packed a couple bags, stuffing them with his baseball equipment and personal belongings, in preparation for a Friday morning flight to Anaheim.

When he got to the airport the next day for his 10:30 a.m. flight, however, there was a long line at the ticket counter. By the time he reached the front, it was too late to check his luggage.

“I didn’t want to miss the flight,” Butera said. So, he chose to instead leave his bags behind.

“I grabbed my glove, ran to the gate and literally just got on the plane with nothing but my glove.”

When Butera arrived at Angel Stadium that afternoon, he was outfitted for new gear (he guessed it was some leftover equipment the Angels had lying around from past seasons). He sat in on several pregame meetings to get familiar with the Angels’ pitchers. And then, in his first game since last September, proceeded to catch nine innings of two-run ball between starter Griffin Canning and reliever Patrick Sandoval. He even doubled in his first at-bat, too.

“It was one heck of a day,” said Butera, who only met Canning about 90 minutes before first pitch. “I’ll tell you that much.”

As of Saturday afternoon, Butera still didn’t have his gear. Or the clothes he’d packed. He said there was a rule that prevented the airlines from flying his luggage if he wasn’t on the plane. Instead, he’s planning to get it all when the Angels go to Houston after this weekend’s series against the Dodgers.

“My wife’s gonna drive them down,” he said.

Still, despite the logistical headaches, Butera was simply happy to be back in majors.

The 37-year-old has now made appearances in each of the last 12 seasons, totaling 542 games between five clubs, including 10 games with the Angels during a previous season with the team in 2015.

It’s doubtful this stint will be an extended one, likely to last only as long as Max Stassi remains on the concussion injured list.

But, Butera said, “that’s out of my control and whatever it is, I’ll be here and ready ... I got on a plane yesterday and got to play in the big leagues.”

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Dodgers struggling to recreate urgency of pandemic-shortened 2020 season

Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy listens to manager Dave Roberts during Wednesday's loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy, left, listens to manager Dave Roberts during Wednesday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

There was a built-in sense of urgency during the pandemic-shortened 60-game season last year. Teams knew they couldn’t afford to get off to a slow start because there wasn’t enough time to catch up. A seven-game losing streak, easily absorbed in a 162-game season, could torpedo your playoff chances.

The short season, combined with a hunger to end their 31-year championship drought, seemed to motivate the Dodgers to push the pedal to the metal for the entire two-plus-month schedule, and it showed. They had a major league-best 43-17 record and won the World Series.

It has been a different story in 2021. The Dodgers have lost 14 of 18 games after their 13-2 start and are one game over .500 (17-16) entering Saturday night’s game against the Angels.

The offense has been sporadic and failed too often in the clutch. There have been physical errors in the field and mental lapses on defense and the basepaths. An injury-ravaged bullpen has suffered a series of late-inning collapses.

The lack of energy seemed noticeable in Friday night’s 9-2 loss in Angel Stadium, where Corey Seager was picked off second base with two on in the first inning and Seager and Justin Turner grounded out on first-pitch swings with runners on second and third to end the fifth.

Has it been harder for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to recreate that sense of urgency with baseball going back to a 162-game schedule this season?

“I think that’s fair,” he said. “I think you can try to play every game, in theory, like it’s Game 7, but in reality, it’s not. When look out at a 162-game season, there’s going to be times when you’re not getting hits and teams look lethargic. That’s every ballclub that’s not swinging the bats.

“I know we still have a lot of good players, and we’re gonna win baseball games. So I think to your question, to have our hair on fire for 162, I think that is hard. Our guys understand it is a marathon. I don’t like how we got to .500 as far as the last couple of weeks, but we are where we’re at, and we have to get better.”

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Angels injury updates: Watson nearing return; Rendon and Rodriguez progressing

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Tony Watson (35) throws during a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox.
Angels relief pitcher Tony Watson delivers against the Chicago White Sox on April 3.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Angels’ bullpen is on the verge of getting a boost, with left-hander Tony Watson “really close” to returning, according to manager Joe Maddon.

Watson, who hasn’t pitched since Apr. 28 because of a left calf strain, will be eligible to come off the injured list Sunday. Maddon said “there’s a possibility it may occur tomorrow, and if not soon after.”

In nine games this year, Watson has a 1.08 ERA.

Maddon said third baseman Anthony Rendon is also progressing after going on the injured list earlier this week with a left knee contusion resulting from a ball he fouled off his leg.

“He’s moving around a lot better,” Maddon said. “He’s actually able to kick his foot out without any issue.”

Maddon doesn’t have a return date for Rendon yet, but said it’s possible he could be back as soon as he’s eligible during the Angels’ trip to Boston next week: “I don’t think that’s out of the question, but we’ll see as this week progresses.”

The Angels also got testing results back on reliever Chris Rodriguez’s right shoulder. Maddon said there was “nothing awful” in the results and that “everything was pretty clean.” Rodriguez went on the injured list Thursday with right shoulder inflammation.

“We’re just having to wait it out a little bit,” Maddon said, adding: “He knows it’s nothing serious. For those reasons, I think it’s going to be pretty close to a minimal stay [on the injured list].”

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Dodgers look to snap four-game losing streak vs. Angels

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws the ball against the Chicago Cubs.
Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
(David Banks / Associated Press)

The Dodgers will look to snap their first four-game losing streak since July 2019 when left-hander Clayton Kershaw opposes Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy in the second game of the Freeway Series at Angel Stadium on Saturday.

The defending World Series-champion Dodgers, their bullpen racked by injuries and their offense struggling to build rallies and hit in the clutch, have lost 14 of 18 games since their 13-2 start to fall to 17-16.

They are batting .209 with a .672 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and are averaging 3.9 runs over their last 18 games and are three for 36 with runners in scoring position over their past four games.

“It’s frustrating, it’s not fun, but we’re sticking to the process, and the wins will come,” said catcher Will Smith, who will start at designated hitter Saturday night. “We’re too good hitters for us to do this for a whole year. We’ll get the offense going.”

The Angels got solo home runs from Justin Upton and Taylor Ward and hit five doubles in Friday night’s 9-2 win over the Dodgers, who had a chance to cut into a 4-1 deficit when they put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth.

But Corey Seager and Justin Turner, both swinging at first pitches, grounded out to third to end the inning, and the Angels busted out for six runs in the sixth off Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, who was pitching for the first time since November surgery to remove large cysts in his throwing shoulder.

One bright spot for the Dodgers: Leadoff man Mookie Betts snapped an 0-for-10 skid with a double to left field in the fifth and a solo homer to left-center in the ninth.

Left fielder AJ Pollock is not in the lineup after suffering a mild left-hamstring strain in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game.

DODGERS LINEUP

RF Mookie Betts

SS Corey Seager

3B Justin Turner

1B Max Muncy

DH Will Smith

CF Chris Taylor

LF Matt Beaty

2B Gavin Lux

C Austin Barnes

LHP Clayton Kershaw

ANGELS LINEUP

2B David Fletcher

DH Shohei Ohtani

CF Mike Trout

LF Justin Upton

1B Jared Walsh

SS Jose Iglesias

RF Taylor Ward

3B Jose Rojas

C Kurt Suzuki

RHP Dylan Bundy

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Griffin Canning’s gem, Shohei Ohtani’s two doubles: 5 takeaways from Angels’ win over Dodgers

Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning delivers against the Dodgers on Friday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

After five straight days of frustration for the Angels, Friday night was like a big sigh of relief.

The team snapped its five-game losing streak with perhaps its most impressive win of the season, knocking off the Dodgers 9-2 at Angel Stadium.

The Angels lineup was opportunistic, collecting a season-high eight extra-base hits and going 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position. On the mound, Griffin Canning delivered 5 ⅔ innings of one-run ball, then passed the baton to reliever Patrick Sandoval for a 3-⅓ inning save.

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Angels snap five-game losing streak in blowout victory over Dodgers

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Highlights from the Angels’ 9-2 win over the Dodgers at Angel Stadium on Friday.

We missed you, Tommy.

Dodger Stadium might have been Tommy Lasorda’s home, but Angel Stadium was his home ballpark.

For decades, Lasorda lived in a modest Fullerton house, seven miles from Angel Stadium. Whenever the Dodgers and Angels met here in the Freeway Series, Lasorda was a popular presence around the batting cage.

They played a Freeway Series game on Friday, in Anaheim, for the first time since Lasorda passed away in January. This game would have prompted someone to ask Lasorda his opinion of the Dodgers’ performance and, well, you bleeping know.

It was not just that the Dodgers lost. It was how they lost.

The Angels — with Justin Upton and Taylor Ward hitting home runs, David Fletcher driving in three runs and Shohei Ohtani doubling twice — broke a five-game losing streak with a 9-2 victory over the Dodgers. The Angels matched their most lopsided victory this season and handed the Dodgers their most lopsided defeat this season.

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Dodgers strand another baserunner in the eighth

Chris Taylor opened the inning with a blooper to shallow right that he turned into a double after barely outhustling Taylor Ward’s throw to second. He advanced to third on a high infield bouncer by Edwin Uceta before Sheldon Neuse grounded out to dissolve the scoring chance.

Barring some sort of epic comeback, the Dodgers are on their way to their 14th loss in 18 games.

Uceta retired the Angels on nine pitches to push the game into the ninth.

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Dodgers’ offense continues to sputter against Angels

Reliever Edwin Uceta stayed in the game for the Dodgers in the seventh and retired the Angels in order.

In the top half, the Patrick Sandoval walked Mookie Betts and Justin Turner, but got Max Muncy to ground out for the final out. The Dodgers have left nine runners on base so far.

End of seventh: Angels 9, Dodgers 1

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Angels drive in four runs off Joe Kelly; AJ Pollock sustains hamstring strain

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hits a run-scoring double in the sixth inning.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Angels scored four runs off reliever Joe Kelly in the sixth to take a 9-1 lead over the Dodgers.

In addition to Kelly’s struggles, left fielder AJ Pollock left the game after he strained his hamstring while trying to field what eventually turned into a run-scoring triple by Mike Trout.

Making his season debut for the Dodgers, Kelly gave up a trio of run-scoring doubles to Jose Rojas, David Fletcher and Shohei Ohtani to start of the scoring surge before Trout’s triple.

Edwin Uceta got the final out, striking out Jared Walsh with runners on the corners.

The Angels scored their first run in the inning when Pollock misjudged Rojas’ hit and let the ball bounce past him, allowing Jose Iglesias to score. On the next at-bat, Rojas scored when Fletcher sent a flare into right field. Then, Ohtani bounced a hard hit off the right field wall to bring in Fletcher.

Conversely, the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on their chances in the top of the inning.

They seemingly caught a big break at the start of the sixth when a miscommunication between Angels first baseman Jared Walsh and right fielder Taylor Ward resulted in a double for Will Smith. The ball seemed catchable, but it dropped just beyond Walsh’s outstretched glove as he tried to field it over his shoulder.

Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock walks off the field next to team trainer Yosuke Nakajima and manager Dave Roberts.
Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock walks off the field next to team trainer Yosuke Nakajima, left, and manager Dave Roberts during the sixth inning.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Chris Taylor was then credited with a single on a bouncing ball that was too much for Rojas to handle at third. After Griffin Canning struck out AJ Pollock for the second out, the Angels used reliever Patrick Sandoval to get pinch hitter Sheldon Neuse to pop out and strand runners on third and second.

Canning gave up six hits, an earned run and struck out four over 5 2/3 innings. Dodgers starter Julio Urías gave up five earned runs and eight hits while striking out four over five innings.

Meanwhile...

End of sixth: Angels 9, Dodgers 1

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Angels take 5-1 lead on Shohei Ohtani’s run-scoring double

Shohei Ohtani hits a fly ball during the second inning against the Dodgers.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani hit a run-scoring double off Julio Urias to the wall in left field, allowing David Fletcher to score from first and give the Angels a 5-1 lead with one out in the fifth inning.

Mike Trout singled to left on the ensuing at-bat to advance Ohtani to third before Urias struck out Justin Upton and got Jared Walsh to ground out and end the inning.

The Dodgers squandered a scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth when Mookie Betts advanced Gavin Lux to third on a laser that bounced over the wall in the left-field corner for a ground-rule double. Lux and Betts, however, went nowhere after Griffin Canning got Corey Seager and Justin Turner to hit into groundouts.

End of fifth: Angels 5, Dodgers 1

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Mookie Betts and Will Smith help Dodgers’ cause vs. Angels

Dodgers flash some defense in the fourth, with Mookie Betts making a sprinting catch in the right-field corner and Will Smith picking off Jose Iglesias on a stolen-base attempt at second.

In the top of the inning, Griffin Canning retired Will Smith, Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock in order.

End of fourth: Angels 4, Dodgers 1

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Angels lead Dodgers 4-1 heading into the fourth

Julio Urías and Griffin Canning didn’t have much difficulty getting through the third.

Canning got Mookie Betts to pop out before striking out Justin Turner and getting Max Muncy to fly out to center. Canning has gotten into some deep counts and has walked three, but he’s kept the Dodgers’ bats limited to two hits so far.

Urías retired Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Jared Walsh in order in the bottom of the inning.

End of third: Angels 4, Dodgers 1

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Mike Trout says he ‘broke down’ after hearing of Albert Pujols’ release

The Angels' Mike Trout, right, and Albert Pujols smile before a game against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 17, 2019.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Wednesday night was like any other for Mike Trout.

Then suddenly, it wasn’t.

Shortly after the Angels’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Trout was approached in the clubhouse by reliever Steve Cishek.

“Do you know if anything happened to Albert?” Trout remembered Cishek asking him. “He’s hugging some teammates.”

Trout soon learned what the rest of the baseball world would find out a day later. In a surprise move, the Angels were releasing Albert Pujols. After 10 seasons together, Trout and Pujols would be teammates no more.

“We were all surprised when it happened,” Trout said. “You know, it hit me a little bit — it hit me a lot. Ever since I’ve been up here, he’s been my guy. He mentored me throughout my career so far.”

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Justin Upton and Taylor Ward hit home runs to help give Angels 4-1 lead

Angels batter Justin Upton rounds the bases in front of Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner after hitting a solo home run.
Angels batter Justin Upton rounds the bases in front of Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner after hitting a solo home run in the second inning.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ early lead was short-lived.

Justin Upton and Taylor Ward each hit solo home runs and David Fletcher hit a two-run single off Dodgers starter Julio Urías to give the Angels a 4-1 lead in the second inning.

Upton caught a 95-mph fastball up in the zone and sent it 436 feet to center field for his sixth home run of the season.

Three at-bats later, Ward hit his first homer of 2021 on a 413-footer to left. Urías then hit Jose Rojas with a pitch on the next at-bat.

After Ward’s home run, Urías hit Jose Rojas with a pitch on the next at-bat and gave up standup double to Drew Butera before Fletcher drove them both in on a single to center. Shohei Ohtani flied out to center to end the rally.

End of second: Angels 4, Dodgers 1

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Dodgers take 1-0 lead in the second

Angels center fielder Mike Trout can't make a diving catch on a double hit by the Dodgers' AJ Pollock.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout can’t make a diving catch on a double hit by the Dodgers’ AJ Pollock during the second inning.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Matt Beaty drove in Will Smith from third on a groundout to first to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

AJ Pollock hit a standup double into the right-center gap that falls in front of a diving Mike Trout, advancing Will Smith to third. Smith got on base after a four-pitch walk by Griffin Canning.

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Injury updates on Bellinger, McKinstry, Price and Gonsolin

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger swings during an at-bat against the Colorado Rockies on April 1.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger, sidelined since April 6 because of a hairline fracture of his left fibula, ran in the Camelback Ranch outfield at “probably about 60%,” said manager Dave Roberts, who watched a video of Bellinger’s workout.

“He looked good and recovered well,” Roberts said. “We’ll continue to ramp up that percentage of effort. He’s taking batting practice, live at-bats and throwing the ball. It’s moving in the right direction.”

Roberts said utility man Zach McKinstry, out since April 22 because of a right-oblique strain, is “progressing” in his recovery, but there is still no timetable for his return.

“The latest is he was able to sneeze and not feel anything,” Roberts said. “When you’re talking about an oblique, that’s a big deal.”

Left-hander David Price, out since April 26 because of a right-hamstring strain, threw a bullpen session on Friday and is expected to return “sooner rather than later,” Roberts said.

Right-hander Tony Gonsolin, sidelined all season because of shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game in the next few days.

With Dustin May undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery, Gonsolin will be built up as a starter with a goal of throwing at least four innings and 60 pitches, but preferably five innings and 75 pitches, before he is activated.

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Angels honor Albert Pujols with scoreboard tribute video

A day after the Angels designated Albert Pujols for assignment, a move that will lead to the 41-year-old first baseman’s eventual release from the club after 10 seasons, the team played a Pujols tribute video on the Angel Stadium scoreboards during the middle of the first inning.

Before the game, Pujols’ departure remained a topic of conversation among the Angels. Mike Trout reflected on what he described as a “special” decade-long relationship with the fellow three-time MVP. Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the news “probably came as a shock to a lot of the guys.”

“There’s going to be that initial jolt, which I think was part of the game yesterday,” Maddon said. “But you got to get beyond that. Probably the day that it occurs is the most difficult day. I think when you walk in the next day, you’re able to start making your adaptions.”

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Angels starter Griffin Canning picks off Corey Seager at second

Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning throws against the Dodgers on Friday at Angel Stadium.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

What appeared to be a promising first inning for the Dodgers quickly soured when Angels starter Griffin Canning struck out Max Muncy, then picked off Corey Seager at second for the final out.

The Dodgers seem to be expecting the worst. Mookie Betts momentarily thought he took a third strike and started to walk off the field before realizing it was a called a ball. He then popped out to left.

In the bottom of the inning, Julio Urías retired the Angels in order.

End of first: Dodgers 0, Angels 0

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Clayton Kershaw to start Saturday night on three days’ rest

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers against the Colorado Rockies on April 1.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw will make his first career regular-season start on three days’ rest when the Dodgers left-hander takes the mound for Saturday night’s game against the Angels in Angel Stadium.

The quick turnaround was made possible by one of the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner’s worst-ever start, when he gave up four runs and four hits in one inning and threw only 39 pitches in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the first game of Tuesday’s split doubleheader in Wrigley Field.

“It’s embarrassing,” Kershaw said after the game. “No excuses. That was horrible.”

Kershaw, who is 4-3 with a 2.95 ERA in seven starts this season and is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 career starts against the Angels, won’t have to wait long to redeem himself.

“He didn’t exert himself too much in that start,” manager Dave Roberts said. “So he feels good about [starting on three days’ rest] and we feel good about it.”

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Dodgers hope return of Joe Kelly will boost an injury-ravaged bullpen

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly throws against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning.
Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly throws against the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the NLCS in October.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he would not hesitate using Joe Kelly in high-leverage situations and for multiple innings Friday night, and the veteran reliever, who was activated off the injured list Thursday after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, said he’s prepared for any role.

“In a perfect world, [my return] would be scripted, but that’s why I took a little bit longer,” Kelly said before the Dodgers faced the Angels. “I worked on back-to-backs, two out of three, I threw four times in a week. I passed all of those tests and was no more sore than when I was 100% healthy. I would love to get into any situation to help this team out.”

The bullpen — and team — would benefit from the return of a healthy, effective Kelly, who had surgery in November to remove several cysts from his throwing shoulder.

With back-end relievers Corey Knebel, Brusdar Graterol and now Scott Alexander on the injured list, the Dodgers, who have lost 13 of their last 17 games after their 13-2 start, have leaned heavily on untested arms such as Garrett Cleavinger, Mitch White and Alex Vesia in the late innings of close games.

“You look at the guys in the pen, as far as experience and some of the leverage these guys have been thrust into … Joe’s a high-leverage guy, so I’m gonna use him as such,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to have him back. I know his teammates are thrilled. So we’re gonna get him into the mix.”

Kelly threw 13 2/3 innings in 2020, 10 in the regular season and 3 2/3 innings in five postseason appearances. He spent part of the season on the injured list and all of the season in pain.

While serving an eight-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing incident against the Houston Astros in late-July, Kelly underwent an MRI test, which revealed the cysts. He opted to wait until after the season for surgery.

“The suspension was kind of a blessing because I had time to see if something was wrong,” Kelly said. “The every-day things, washing my hair, reaching for a backpack, laying down on my back, it would burn as if there were fire ants inside my arm. So getting rid of those was definitely a plus. Even two days after surgery, I got instant relief.”

Kelly did not pitch in a spring-training game. He spent April at the team’s alternate site in Phoenix, building up his endurance and pitching in exhibition games.

“It’s a good sign that during live BPs at the alternate site, my velocity has been 95-97 mph with no fans, in the middle of the day,” Kelly said. “I’ve thrown some good breaking balls, too, so I’m excited to get back out there to see where my stuff is. I feel like my stuff is better than it was last year.”

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Matt Beaty to DH for Dodgers; new catcher Drew Butera to start for Angels

Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Beaty watches an inside pitch during the second inning of a spring training.
Matt Beaty bats against the Cincinnati Reds in spring training on March 9.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Matt Beaty will start at designated hitter for the Dodgers, and catcher Drew Butera, acquired from the Texas Rangers for cash Friday, will start behind the plate for the Angels when the teams meet in the opener of a three-game Freeway Series at Angel Stadium Friday night.

Angels left fielder Justin Upton will also return to the lineup after missing the last two games because of a bruised right knee.

The defending World Series-champion Dodgers are coming off a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, and they have lost 13 of their last 17 games after their 13-2 start. The Angels are coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the defending American League-champion Tampa Bay Rays.

The lineups:

DODGERS

RF Mookie Betts

SS Corey Seager

3B Justin Turner

1B Max Muncy

C Will Smith

CF Chris Taylor

LF AJ Pollock

DH Matt Beaty

2B Gavin Lux

LHP Julio Urias

ANGELS

2B David Fletcher

DH Shohei Ohtani

CF Mike Trout

LF Justin Upton

1B Jared Walsh

SS Jose Iglesias

RF Taylor Ward

3B Jose Rojas

C Drew Butera

RHP Griffin Canning

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Albert Pujols’ greatness was evident from the start

St.Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols gets set for a pitch during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

The exchange is vivid in the mind of Peter Gammons two decades later, the veteran ESPN baseball analyst still marveling at the prescience of it all.

Gammons was in Jupiter, Fla., in late March 2001 for an interview with Mark McGwire, the St. Louis Cardinals slugger who was approaching the end of a 16-year career in which he would hit 583 home runs.

As he greeted McGwire in front of the first-base dugout on that sunny spring morning, a constant thwack could be heard from the nearby batting cage, where a 21-year-old Albert Pujols was rifling line drives all over Roger Dean Stadium.

“He said the guy you should be interviewing is the guy there in the cage, the rookie,” Gammons said, recalling his conversation with McGwire. “He’s going to the Hall of Fame, no doubt.”

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Brock Stewart to undergo Tommy John surgery

Dodgers pitcher Brock Stewart throws during a spring training baseball workout in February 2019.
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)

Dodgers minor league pitcher Brock Stewart announced on Twitter Friday that he will undergo Tommy John surgery next week, a ligament-replacement procedure on his elbow that will sideline the 29-year-old right-hander for this season and most of 2022.

“It sucks for sure,” Stewart wrote, “but I’ll get through it.”

Stewart went 2-3 with a 5.46 ERA in 36 games — 11 of them starts — for the Dodgers from 2016-2019. He was claimed off waivers by Toronto on July 31, 2019, and went 4-0 with an 8.31 ERA in 10 games for the Blue Jays in the final two months of that season.

The Chicago Cubs selected Stewart in the 2019 Rule 5 draft but released him on May 28, 2020. Stewart re-signed with the Dodgers on a minor league deal over the winter.

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Commentary: Albert Pujols was not the star the Angels wanted him to be

Angels slugger Albert Pujols walks to the dugout after fouling out against the Texas Rangers in August.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

In the end, the Angels cut a guy batting .198. No big deal.

And that, unfortunately, is the legacy of Albert Pujols with the Angels: No big deal.

He got a big deal: 10 years and $240 million, and 4,000 fans chanting and cheering at his introductory news conference.

“I’m a marketing guy,” Angels owner Arte Moreno said that day. “I just thought, ‘What does it mean to our fans to bring a player of this caliber here?’ ”

In the end, it meant almost nothing.

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How to stream and watch Dodgers vs. Angels

Angel Stadium in July 2020.
(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

Here’s how to watch this week’s three-game series between the Dodgers and Angels:

How to stream

Spectrum SportsNet LA and Bally Sports SoCal are available with a subscription to AT&T TV “Choice Plan” ($84.99 / mo.). You can stream the game on your Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, and your browser. Sunday’s game will be on SportsNet LA and Bally Sports West.

Fans outside of the Los Angeles market can stream the games using MLB.TV.

How to watch on TV

Spectrum SportsNet LA and Bally Sports SoCal will be carrying the game on cable and satellite providers.

How to listen

In Los Angeles, Dodgers broadcasts can be heard on 570 AM or 1020 AM (Español). Angels broadcasts can be heard on 830 AM.

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Dodgers’ offensive struggles start with Mookie Betts and Corey Seager

Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts reacts after swinging at a pitch against the Cubs on Wednesday.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ woes seem countless at the moment.

The defense is sloppy too often. Injuries have decimated the bullpen and dented the depth. Opponents run freely on the basepaths. Then there’s the biggest, and most surprising, issue: the offense.

The struggles have magnified the other problems, forcing the Dodgers into close games nearly every night. The Dodgers aren’t padding leads when they have them. As a result, since starting the season 13-2, they’re 4-13. Only the Detroit Tigers have been worse during the stretch.

“Intellectually, I know that we’re a really good team and have really good players,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a phone interview Thursday. “But, obviously, this has been a really difficult stretch and kind of the imperfect storm on a lot of fronts. So I think it’s just doing our best to weather this storm.

“If we were in the midst of a 60-game season, I would obviously be more worried. But it’s kind of an imperfect storm. When we’re hitting, we’re not pitching. When we’re pitching, we’re not hitting. And defensive miscues late. Leadoff walks. Just a combination of things that you don’t usually see associated with Dodgers baseball, especially of late.”

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What’s wrong with Andrew Friedman’s Dodgers? We asked him

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts talk during a practice.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts talk during a practice in July at Dodger Stadium.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In 2017, the Dodgers lost 16 times in one 17-game stretch. They still got to the World Series.

In 2018, the Dodgers were in fourth place in the National League West as late as June. They still got to the World Series.

The Dodgers today find themselves in third place, losers of 13 of their last 17 games. It’s been worse, and it’s turned out fine. You would think Andrew Friedman might have taken some comfort in that history.

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” said Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations.

“I think that is helpful perspective. But, when you’re mired in it, oftentimes you don’t have that clarity of thought, and you’re just more frustrated than anything.”

Frustrated, same as you. He lets it out too.

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Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Angels on Friday

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning in action against the Seattle Mariners.
Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning delivers against the Seattle Mariners on May 1.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

The crosstown rivalry between the Dodgers and Angels renews Friday with both teams eager to end their respective losing streaks.

The Dodgers already have a trio of three-game losing streaks this season after not losing three consecutive games at any point in 2020. The Angels, who released slugger Albert Pujols on Thursday, have lost their last five games.

Julio Urías, who has won five of his six starts this season, will start for the Dodgers. He’s gone more than five innings in all but one start and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7:1. Griffin Canning gets the start for the Angels and will look to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard. He’s given up an average of 2.7 home runs per nine innings and has a 6.20 ERA across five appearances.

Dodgers vs. Angels line for May 7, 2021
(VSiN)

The Angels’ bullpen ranks third among American League teams in innings pitched and ERA — a big reason why 18 of the team’s 30 games have gone over the total, which leads the American League.

The Dodgers have played 11 of their last 13 games over the total and covered the run line in two of their last 17 games.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.

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Fernandomania @ 40 Ep. 3: Why the Dodgers are haunted by Chavez Ravine ghosts

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“Fernandomania @ 40” is a multi-episode documentary series that examines star pitcher Fernando Valenzuela’s impact on the Dodgers, Major League Baseball and the Latino community in Los Angeles 40 years ago.

Episode 3 of explores the forming of the perfect storm that made Fernandomania possible. More than 1,800 families in the Chavez Ravine communities — La Loma, Palo Verde and Bishop — were asked to leave their homes starting in 1950, because the City of Los Angeles believed the land could be better utilized for build public housing. Some sold their property, others were forced out due to draconian eminent domain laws.

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Column: Right now, the best team in baseball history stinks

Dodgers infielder Max Muncy manager Dave Roberts and third baseman Justin Turner watch from the dugout.
Dodgers infielder Max Muncy, left, manager Dave Roberts, center, and third baseman Justin Turner watch from the dugout during a loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Corey Seager stinks.

He is a worthy World Series MVP, but right now, the Dodgers shortstop stinks, failing to catch groundballs in the hole, failing to accurately throw balls from the hole, barely there at the plate.

He’s in a contract year. Maybe he’s trying too hard. Or maybe he’s trying to play it too safe. Whatever he’s doing, he’s not getting it done.

Mookie Betts stinks.

He is one of the five best players in baseball, but right now, the Dodgers leadoff hitter stinks, chasing bad pitches, missing good ones, for a .248 average with three homers, six RBIs and not much of a clue.

He hasn’t been the same since being sidelined for a week with a back injury. Maybe that’s still hurting. Maybe he’s still adjusting. Whatever is happening, for him it’s not happening.

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