Dodgers @ Angels May 7, 2021: Two Struggling Teams Meet In Anaheim

The Dodgers had a much-needed off day yesterday, following yet another extra innings loss in Chicago on Wednesday. The Dodgers’ inability to protect a lead in the rare instance they actually get a lead cost them once again, leading to the first time they’ve been swept since 2019. Most of this awful stretch should be corrected over the long season, like a 1-6 record in extra inning games and a 4-9 record in one-run games. It’s not fun now, and the Dodgers find themselves in third place in the NL West despite still leading baseball in run differential.

Today they head to Anaheim to face the Angels, who currently sit in last in the AL West. They’ve lost five in a row and were just swept in a four-game series by the Rays. They grabbed headlines yesterday when they announced that they were designating Albert Pujols for assignment, putting an end to his Angel career.

6:38 P.M. Anaheim
RF Betts 2B Fletcher
SS Seager (L) DH Ohtani (L)
3B Turner CF Trout
1B Muncy (L) LF Upton
C Smith 1B Walsh (L)
CF Taylor SS Iglesias
LF Pollock RF Ward
DH Beaty (L) 3B Rojas (L)
2B Lux (L) C Butera
P Urías (L) P Canning (R)

Julio Urias starts for the seventh time this season. He’s coming off another stellar performance in Milwaukee, where he held the Brewers to a run and four hits over seven innings. He started the game comfortably, as the Dodgers put up five runs in the top of the first and another four in the top of the second. The Dodgers needed length out of Urias and he gave them that, as he completed seven innings for the third time in six starts. Overall, Urias has a 2.87 ERA and 2.80 FIP in 37 2/3 innings and has struck out 42 batters while walking only six.

Griffin Canning makes his fifth start of the season (sixth appearance overall) for the Angels. The 24-year-old righty struggled in four April outings, allowing 14 runs and 17 hits in 15 innings while allowing opponents to OPS .999 off him. He bounced back with a solid start on May 1, as he held the Mariners to a run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. Canning somehow missed the Dodgers in his 11 starts against West teams last season, but saw them as a a rookie in 2019. He allowed three runs in six innings and left losing, but the Angels rallied in the eighth and ninth to a 5-3 victory.

Canning’s velocity has been up this year, as he’s averaged 93.8 MPH on his four seam fastball (up from 92.8 MPH in 2020). Among pitchers with 20 or more innings pitched, Canning has the fourth-highest swinging strike rate (17.7 percent, only behind Jacob deGrom, Corbin Burnes and Shane Bieber). He also ranks fourth in contact-percentage, putting him in the 97th percentile of whiff rate according to Baseball Savant.


The Dodgers set their rotation for the rest of the Freeway Series.

Clayton Kershaw will start tomorrow with Trevor Bauer getting the start in the finale. Kershaw started the early game of Tuesday’s double header and was pulled after one inning and 39 pitches, so while he’s on three days rest he should be relatively fresh. Bauer started the night game and will be on four days rest.


The Dodgers placed another pitcher on the IL yesterday.

Scott Alexander was placed on the IL after not pitching in any of the three games in Chicago. Joe Kelly has been activated for the first time in 2021 and if anything, will at least give the Dodgers a fresh arm.

Brock Stewart announced he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2019, but returned to the Dodger organization this offseason.

Zach McKinstry was able to sneeze painlessly, and Cody Bellinger was able to run a bit. Both of them will be welcome additions to a lineup that has been lifeless at times over the last three weeks.


First pitch is scheduled for 6:38 (you okay, Anaheim?) PM PDT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.