Dodger Win Over Angels Sums Up Both Teams' Seasons

Fifth inning, the Angels have the bases loaded with just one out and their three biggest bats lined up — Bobby Abreu at the plate, followed by Torii Hunter then Vladimir Guerrero. It looked like a can’t miss opportunity.

And Abreu meekly grounded back to Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw for the 1-2-3 double play. End of threat.

But when the Dodgers had chances, like Matt Kemp on base with Juan Pierre at the plate — the guy only playing every day because Manny Ramirez is suspended — twice he took advantage of the moment and drove in the run.

That summed up the Dodgers 5-3 win in the rubber game of the Freeway Series this weekend. It also sums up the way things have gone for both teams.

The Dodgers have the best record in baseball because when opportunities present themselves they have taken advantage. Kershaw did that pitching seven scoreless innings Sunday night. Pierre drove in two runs and scored another. James Loney hit a two run home run that barely made it out of the park, bouncing off the top of the wall — a home run under the rules of Angels Stadium — when he had his chance. Closer Jonathon Broxton backed himself into a bit of a corner, but when he needed an out — like with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, he got the key strikeout.

Even Kobe Bryant sat above the Dodgers dugout for the night, another sign that the Dodgers are doing it right

The Angels got off to a slow start this season because of injuries — at least they are getting healthy — and because they missed their opportunities. They came into the Dodgers series having won six in a row but Sunday night on national television their old habits came back to bite them. Also, the Angels feared going to a shoddy bullpen and stuck with Lackey one batter too long.

The Angels made a late rally in the ninth — aided by a Matt Kemp dropped ball — but it was too little too late. The Angels were close but not able to get over the top The Dodgers were.

The Dodgers remain eight games ahead in the National League West and are cruising. The Angels have clawed back to be just within half a game of the American League West lead. But if they are going to get that division lead and hold it, they are going to have to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

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