Dodger Stadium

Dodgers Return to Dodger Stadium For First Time Since World Series Loss, Lose to Angels, 4-1

The Dodgers lost to the Angels, 4-1, in their return home to Dodger Stadium for the first time since their heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the World Series.

They say that "home is where the heart is," but in the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, home is where the heartbreak is.

The wind blew across Chavez Ravine on Monday as the Dodgers and Angels met for the final two preseason games of the Freeway Series before the real season begins on Thursday.

Despite the return of baseball to L.A., most of the Dodgers players and coaches still had their minds on the heartbreak they felt the last time they took the field at Dodger Stadium. 

On a similar night, just 145 days earlier, the Dodgers left the field at Dodger Stadium after losing Game 7 of the World Series 5-1, to the Houston Astros.

So many memories were formed during the 2017 season, both beloved and bittersweet, as the Dodgers reached their first World Series since 1988, but failed to win the final game and hoist the World Series trophy.

"It was a little bit more crowded [and loud] the last time," joked Dodgers' pitcher Rich Hill, who started Game 6 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. "Last year was a great year and we're just looking forward to turning the page and moving forward into 2018." 

"It's a good feeling. It's like we never left," added Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts about returning home to Dodger Stadium.

On the field, the Dodgers offense didn't put up much of a fight as they fell to the Angels, 4-1—maybe they're saving up their energy for Opening Day. 

Sho-Time:

Meanwhile, on the Angels side, a lot of attention has surrounded LA's newest international import, Shohei Ohtani who spurned the Dodgers in the offseason to sign with the rival Angels. 

Ohtani has struggled during the preseason, hitting just .125 with a 27.00 ERA for the man nicknamed the "Japanese Babe Ruth."

"I'm learning new things every day, trying to get better and better," said Ohtani. "I'm still trying to find my timing."

Ohtani recorded just his fourth hit of the preseason with a leadoff single off Rich Hill in the top of the fourth inning.

"He looked good at the plate at least," said one Dodger pitcher. "He hit the ball hard."

Reigning Rookie of the Year, Cody Bellinger, greeted Ohtani at first base, especially since Ohtani is an early favorite to win the American League Rookie of the Year this season. 

"I told him congratulations and asked him how he likes L.A.," Bellinger said. 

Pujols Provides the Power:

Albert Pujols knocked in three of the Angels four runs with a bases-clearing double in the top of the third inning. 

Final Thoughts: 

There's still one roster spot open as Trayce Thompson (out of options), Joc Pederson, and Andrew Toles are seemingly competing for one final spot on the Dodgers roster. 

"We have to make some tough decisions," said Roberts. "We've yet to come to a finality, but there's still some jobs available."

Thompson struck out twice in his only two at-bats on Monday, Pederson struck out as a pinch-hitter, and Toles knocked in the Dodgers only run with a solo home run to right field in the ninth.

Up Next: 

The final preseason game takes place at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday as J.C. Romero starts for the Angels opposite Hyun-Jin Ryu for the Dodgers in the Freeway Series finale before Opening Day. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.

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