Angels-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

Zack Greinke is dominant at Chavez Ravine, but that wasn't the case in his only meeting there against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Los Angeles Dodgers could use another superb performance from Greinke as he gets the ball in the opener of this four-game, two-venue Freeway Series on Monday night.

Greinke (12-6, 2.65 ERA) is among the NL leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts (153), but he's been particularly impressive at home. The right-hander is 14-3 with a 2.27 ERA in 23 starts there since joining the Dodgers via free agency after spending part of 2012 with the Angels.

The Dodgers (63-49) have won 19 of those games. However, they bailed him out in an 8-7 win over the Angels on May 27, 2013, when Greinke was hammered for six runs - his most in a Dodgers uniform - and 10 hits over four innings in his only matchup since departing Anaheim.

Greinke enters this meeting having allowed just one run over 15 innings in his last two outings while striking out 23. That run came in the second inning of Wednesday's 3-2, 10-inning win over Atlanta, as he made it through eight despite battling right calf stiffness and fanned a season-high 13.

"My calf got a little sore, similar to spring training, but not to the same level," Greinke told MLB's official website, citing an injury that sidelined him for two weeks in March. "Sore the first couple of innings and got better as the game went on."

The Dodgers, who lead the NL West by 2 1/2 games over second-place San Francisco, surely wouldn't mind a similar performance after dropping two of three to the Chicago Cubs with Sunday's 7-3 loss.

They hit .222 against the Cubs after posting a .293 average during a season-high six-game winning streak.

Offense could be a problem again with the Angels (66-44) turning to Garrett Richards (11-4, 2.74), who is having a breakout season by leading the team in ERA and strikeouts (143).

He's also trying to match Jered Weaver for the team lead in wins after the three-time All-Star earned a 7-5 victory at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Weaver got plenty of help, as he was staked to a five-run lead before taking the mound while the Angels finished with 12 hits.

"You can't complain too much when (the bats) put five runs on the board there in the first," Weaver said after the Angels pulled within a game of first-place Oakland in the AL West. "It makes the starting pitcher's job a little bit easier."

Richards, though, hasn't helped himself while losing back-to-back starts, allowing eight runs in 13 innings after going 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his previous nine.

Richards' struggles started early at Baltimore on Wednesday, as he gave up two runs in the first and exited after allowing a total of four over seven innings in a 4-3 loss.

He has no record and a 2.63 ERA in four games - two starts - against the Dodgers.

The Angels have lost four of six at Dodger Stadium, and Mike Trout is 5 for 22 in his five visits. Trout is 7 for 17 with four RBIs in his last four games after collecting three hits with one double while driving in two Sunday.

He's 2 for 3 with a triple off Greinke.

The Dodgers are expected to have Dee Gordon back in the lineup after he got a day off Sunday. The All-Star second baseman is hitting .322 in his last 14 games after grounding out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.

Gordon is 4 for 6 with a double versus Richards.

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