When the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers meet Tuesday night in the first game of a brief two-game "Freeway Series" in Anaheim, Calif., it is the host Angels and not their highly-touted area rival who will enter with confidence
The Angels have won 11 of their past 14 games and the success has come from the play of a pair of usual suspects: Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Ohtani, who will pitch Wednesday, enters Tuesday's contest on a 15-game hitting streak
During the streak, Ohtani is batting .446 (25-for-56) with nine home runs, 20 RBIs and a 1.614 OPS. He also has an extra-base hit in seven straight games.
While Ohtani is as hot as anyone in the major leagues, Trout seems to have found his stroke recently after struggling for the first half of June. In 13 games from June 1-15, Trout hit .111 (5-for-45) with just one extra-base hit and a .471 OPS.
But in the past three games, Trout is 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles and a home run. He said he thinks he figured out the problem.
"I've been feeling a lot better with the results the last couple of days," Trout said. "(Things changed Saturday) to tell you the truth. The biggest thing was that I wasn't loading, I was just gliding forward. I had nothing behind (my swing) and that's why I was under everything."
"You can't win games with just two guys, but if there were any two back-to-back that could do it, it's these two," Nevin said. "And they can carry a team for quite a while. When your superstars step up in big places, it gives everyone else around you a lot of confidence. We know we can compete with anybody."
Left-hander Reid Detmers (1-5, 4.48 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels on Tuesday coming off two impressive performances
Detmers earned his first win of the season when he held the Chicago Cubs to one run in 5 2/3 innings on June 8, then had a no-decision after allowing just one run in six innings against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
Detmers is 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers
Fellow left-hander Clayton Kershaw (8-4, 2.95 ERA) enters on a roll himself, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts. It has been some much-needed success for a pitching staff going through some unprecedented struggles.
The Dodgers have lost 10 of 15 games this month, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the rival San Francisco Giants this past weekend. For Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, there is no one he'd rather have on the mound than Kershaw when the team needs to turn things around
"It seems like every time Clayton is taking the mound, this is a must-win or he's gotta go deep and cover innings," said Roberts, whose staff is 24th in baseball with a 4.66 ERA. "I think everyone understands the value of going out there and having a shut-down inning, or you're losing games and you have to win that game.
"To have that mindset and mentality to go out there and execute that, that's why he is who he is. That's why he has the respect of everyone in the league. There's just that certain edge that he exudes."
Ohtani is 0-for-8 with three strikeouts against Kershaw in his career, and Trout is 4-for-20 with one home run and six strikeouts against him. Kershaw is 9-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 15 career starts vs. the Angels
--Field Level Media