It’s hardly a rivalry.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost 5-10 to the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball’s 2023 World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Sept. 9. They were hit by five home runs and never got back up. The Angels are now mired in a 10-game losing streak against the Dodgers.
The series between the Angels and Dodgers is called the Freeway Series. That’s because the 5 freeway runs between the Anaheim-based Angels and the Los Angeles-based Dodgers. Even though the teams are in different leagues, they play a fixed match every year. This has created a sense of rivalry among fans.
However, the Angels are hardly a rival to the Dodgers. The Dodgers, the most prestigious team in Major League Baseball, have a better record than the Angels, and the Dodgers have an absolute advantage in the head-to-head matchups. In their four meetings this year, the Angels were unable to get past the Dodgers, snapping a 10-game losing streak.
The Angels were swept by the Dodgers, but Shohei Ohtani shined. He went 4-for-7 with a home run, a double, a home run, a walk, three RBIs and two runs scored in Game 2 of the road series. In Game 9, he came up two batters short of a cycling hit.
The Angels are practically a one-man team for Ohtani. It was evident in the game against the Dodgers. His teammates couldn’t even make basic plays. In the second inning, with runners on second and third, Reed Detmer singled to left off Will Smith. Left fielder Joe Adel made the catch and threw home, but the ball slipped out of his hand and flew out of the catcher’s reach. The pitchers were mauled by the Dodgers’ offense, which pounded out five home runs.
Ohtani is eligible for free agency after this season. There’s been a lot of talk about his future, and with Ohtani expressing a strong desire to win a championship after last season, a move is becoming a foregone conclusion. While Ohtani has been in an Angels uniform since 2018 and continues to make history, the team has yet to reach the postseason, let alone the World Series 꽁머니.
For the Angels to win Ohtani’s heart, they’d have to win him a ticket to fall ball. But the Angels have won 45 games and lost 46. They’re in fourth place in the American League West. The Angels are also out of the postseason wild card picture.
Aside from the Angels’ record, Ohtani is having a great year at the plate. As a pitcher, he went 7-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 100 1/3 innings in 17 games, and as a hitter, he finished the first half of the season with a .302 batting average, .663 on-base percentage, and 1.050 slugging percentage (OPS) in 89 games. Ohtani struggling on his own. What must have been going through his mind as he watched his teammates’ subpar performances against the Dodgers.