Time to crown king of City of Angels

Time to crown king of City of Angels

WASHINGTON -- The Angels spent this week doing their best to dispel the theory that West Coast teams struggle out East, rampaging through Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and heading back to the Pacific shore with a 5-1 record on their road trip so far.

The focus now turns to their last stop, albeit one much closer to home: Chavez Ravine and the waiting Dodgers. The three-game set is one of several annual Interleague series between nearby National and American League teams.

The Angels are 33-26 against their Boomtown rivals, and they were especially dominant last year, going 5-1, with a sweep of the Dodgers at Angel Stadium. They also took two of three at home against the Dodgers in May.

Joe Saunders will toe the rubber in the first game of the series for the Angels. Saunders, tied for the Major League lead in victories with 11, sports a 3.03 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

Catcher Mike Napoli said he and his teammates don't really feel too different about their semi-annual series with the Dodgers. He said that, "unless it's for the ultimate goal at the end," it's just another game.

But Napoli admitted that the fans get much more excited for the series, leading to a tenser and more exciting atmosphere.

"I think it's different for the fans, because they say we're rivals," Napoli said. "It gets electric. They get into it."

Pitching matchup
LAA: LHP Joe Saunders (11-3, 3.03 ERA)
In his last start, against Philadelphia on Saturday, Saunders was in complete command. He held the Phillies to two hits until the seventh, when they struck for a pair of runs with two outs. After the Angels rallied in the eighth, the lefty earned his AL-leading 11th win, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks. From the outset, he was throwing strikes and getting quick outs. Saunders won his only start against the Dodgers, giving up two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. This will be his first appearance at Dodger Stadium.

LAD: RHP Chan Ho Park (2-2, 2.83 ERA)
Park will make a second start in place of the injured Brad Penny. Park did more than could be expected in his last start, pitching in sweltering heat and opposing defending AL Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia, who was the only Cleveland hitter who really hurt Park, hitting a long solo homer. Otherwise, Park struck out nine in only five innings, while allowing three hits in a no-decision. His only other start of the year was against the Angels, against whom he allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings.

Tidbits
The Angels own the Major Leagues' best road record at 26-13, and 11 of their next 17 games are on the road. ... Entering Wednesday, Angels starting pitchers led the Majors in wins (41) and innings pitched (499).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• KCOP

On radio
• KLAA 830, KWKW 1330 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Angels (Jered Weaver, 7-7, 4.56) at Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 6-7, 3.64), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Angels (John Lackey, 5-1, 1.65) at Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 5-7, 4.05), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Monday: Angels (Jon Garland, 7-4, 4.05) vs. Athletics (TBD), 7:05 p.m. PT

Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.