Grady Little said it for Dodger fans everywhere: "We're glad they're not in our division, let me just put it that way. They're a good club and they were certainly more than we could handle this weekend." He could have said in the entire six-game series.
Rafael Furcal banged a leadoff home run and everything was downhill from that moment on. Kelvin Escobar won his eighth game, allowing three runs and eight hits. He fanned eight, giving him 11 in his last 14 innings.
Randy Wolf, now 8-5, on the other hand, used 70 pitches to get out of the first three innings, if "get out" is the right word. He gave up four in the third when the Angels batted around and that in itself seemed more than the Angels would need. Wolf had a 1.48 ERA in five May starts, but he has a 6.86 ERA in four June starts.
He left after five and Scioscia's bunch battered the next three Dodger pitchers -- Mike Hendrickson, Mike Seanez and Brian Tomko, for six more runs. "My fastball was all over the place and I wasn't locating it at all," Wolf said. "When every other pitch pretty much rides off your fastball, it's pretty hard to be effective."
James Loney, the best pure first baseman in the entire system, was playing right field in the ninth and crashed into the scoreboard chasing after a long fly by Gary Matthews Jr. Loney was on the ground for some minutes before being hauled off the field. The team announced that he had suffered a bruised knee. The ball bounced away and went for an inside-the-park homer.
"It was one of those balls where you think you could get back to it and catch it but the wall just comes up quick on you, and you've got that cement below the plexiglas, he said. And then with great understatement added, "I guess more padding wouldn't hurt."
With Garciaparra's bat one of the few positive part of the Dodger offense, the Dodgers asked that Loney try the outfield. He appeared in two games there for the Dodgers last year without a ball hit his way, had an exciting if not productive outfield trial during Spring Training and appeared in the outfield about once a week while in the Minor Leagues the first two months this season.
After Furcal's homer, the Dodger offense was named Nomar Garciaparra.
He knocked in single runs in the fifth, seventh and ninth on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly after lining a double off the wall in center in the first inning.
A third consecutive record crowd of 56,000 watched the mismatch. The series drew a three-game attendance of 168,000, with the Dodgers winning 2-1 on friday and losing 3-0 on Saturday.
The series that was supposed to showcase two of the best teams in baseball, showed that the Dodgers, at this point in time, aren't in their category. After leading the league going into the series, they find themselves in third place as the Angels outscored them 33-10 over six games.
The interleague tour continues with games at Toronto and Tampa Bay, but the Dodgers have lost 20 of their past 21 games in American League ballparks.
Ever the gentleman, Mike Scioscia said, "Last year you could just flip the numbers. That's a good team over there, but right now, we're playing at a high level. Every night there's a good team trying to beat you and the Dodgers are a tough club. We got into our game against them." The Dodgers fly to Canada on Monday, an off-day, and open a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday night, with Brad Penny (8-1, 2.18 ERA) opposing the Blue Jays' Dustin McGowan (3-2, 4.78) at Rogers Centre.
Score by innings Anaheim 040 001 320-10 Los Angeles 100 010 101- 4 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 5 2 2 1 .285 Pierre cf 5 0 1 0 .278 Garciaparra 1b 4 0 3 3 .279 Kent 2b 4 0 0 0 .254 Gonzalez lf 3 0 0 0 .284 Betemit 3b 4 0 0 0 .204 Kemp rf 3 0 1 0 .429 Tomko p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz ph 1 0 1 0 .222 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Lieberthal c 4 0 1 0 .219 Wolf p 0 0 0 0 .120 Ethier ph 1 1 1 0 .266 Hendrickson p 0 0 0 0 .000 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Loney rf 1 0 0 0 .333 Abreu rf 1 1 1 0 .270 Totals 36 4 11 4 Anaheim 41 10 16 10 Error- Liebenthal (1). 2B- Garciaparra (12). HR- Furcal (1). RBI- Furcal (25), Garciaparra 3 (37). S- Wolf. SF- Garciaparra. SB- Kemp (2). LOB- Los Angeles 9, Anaheim 11. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Wolf (8-5) 5.0 7 4-4 3 1 4.24 Hendrickson 0.2 2 1-1 1 0 4.60 Seanez 0.2 3 3-3 1 1 3.66 Tomko 1.2 4 2-2 0 2 5.50 Broxton 1.0 0 0-0 0 3 3.63 T- 3:12. Att- 56,000.Let Abe Tell It-- One gentle reader asked why we continued to refer to the Angels as Anaheim, instead of their chosen Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It reminds us of the question Abraham Lincoln used to ask. If you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does he have? Abe's answer: four. Just because you call it a leg that doesn't mean it is a leg.
Schmidt Check-- Jason Schmidt may or may not make his next start, with his inexplicable problem of reduced velocity but his gear was not packed to leave with the club on the roadtrip to Toronto and Tampa Bay. While the club is tight-lipped about his status, the thought has circulated that he may need surgery. Manager Grady Little sounded like a man looking for solutions elsewhere and confirmed that reliever Chad Billingsley was among the candidates to start if Schmidt doesn't on Thursday, his next scheduled work day. Brett Tomko and Mark Hendrickson are also candidates to replace Schmidt, if replacement there be, and the pair have started eight games each this year, while Billingsley has pitched exclusively in relief and his longest outing is three innings on May 26. Tomko was 1-5 with a 5.95 ERA as a starter. Hendrickson hasn't pitched since last Sunday. He is 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA as a starter.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Catcher Russell Martin was out of the lineup Sunday because of a stiff neck. ... Third baseman Andy LaRoche returned to the Las Vegas lineup Sunday after missing the previous three days with a sore shoulder. ... One of the few positives about the Freeway Series was that it attracted 168,000 fans, breaking the Dodgers' record for a three-game series. It topped last year's mark of 166,904, also against the Angels. ... Dodger infielder Olmedo Sanez hit a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning and now has 43 pinch hits as a Dodger, tying him with Hall of Famer Duke Snider and Mitch Webster for fourth in franchise history. Saenz' eight pinch hits this season lead the Majors. ...First baseman Nomar Garciaparra, second baseman Jeff Kent and right fielder Matt Kemp returned to Sunday's lineup after not starting on Saturday. Garciaparra has one home run, hit two months ago, is hitting .191 on the homestand and his .272 average is a five-week low. Kent has one home run in the last three weeks and is hitting .195 with three RBIs this month.