The Dodgers and Angels both entered the season with lofty expectations and World Series hopes. As both have struggled out of the gates, the two will tangle in a big Interleague series this week in the Los Angeles area.
And now that the Angels have won a season-high eight consecutive games, it's up to their Southern California rivals to keep up the pace in the Freeway Series. The Angels lead the all-time series, 54-38.
"A team that's got high expectations, obviously both Southern California teams, not afraid to spend money on their players, so a lot of similarities," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the comparison between the two clubs. "We all know they have a talented club and they were going to put it together. I wish they would have just waited a little longer before they put it together."
The Angels are coming off a sweep against the Royals, and their road trip continues with ballgames Monday and Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. The two teams will then make the short trip to Angel Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Dodgers still have won three of their last five series. They'll send Zack Greinke to the mound for the Memorial Day night game to face a former team for the second consecutive outing.
Greinke was unable to record an out in the fifth inning of his last start against the Brewers, allowing five runs on nine hits. But he's 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA at home, where he will face the group for whom he made 13 starts last season. It will be his third start since returning from a broken left collarbone.
Greinke said after his last outing that he was trying to do too much and throw too hard against his former team.
"That's really why I didn't pitch good," Greinke said. "I didn't make adjustments. I have to be smarter out there. I was trying to do most of the game something I shouldn't have been doing."
Southern California native C.J. Wilson starts for the Angels, after winning his last outing against the Mariners on Wednesday.
Dodgers: Kemp, Hairston could be back Monday
Outfielder Matt Kemp -- struggling with a .260 average and just two home runs this year -- was held out of the starting lineup Sunday, a day after being pulled from Saturday's game in the seventh inning.
"Matt not playing is the best thing for him, it's the best thing for us," Mattingly said before Sunday's game. "For him to be having struggles and being frustrated is not good for a guy. It seems like the timing is kind of right."
Kemp pinch-hit in the eighth inning on Sunday and grounded into a double play.
Kemp maintains that offseason left shoulder surgery is not the reason for his slow start, but the Dodgers' medical staff has limited his work in the weight room. They may allow him to do more soon to strengthen his shoulder.
• Outfielder Scott Van Slyke, dealing with a stiff neck after diving for a Yadier Molina double on Saturday, may give the Dodgers a roster spot for Jerry Hairston on Monday, should Van Slyke require a stint on the disabled list. Hairston, who can play infield and outfield, has been on the DL with a strained groin.
Angels: Wilson looking for two straight
After his previous three outings resulted in losses, Wilson got back on the winning track in his last start, holding the Mariners to one run on six hits in eight innings.
"Our offense is really starting to click and it makes your job as a pitcher much easier," Wilson said. "I was going out there just basically trying to throw first-pitch strikes and Seattle was attacking a lot of first pitches, putting them in play."
Monday is Military Appreciation Night, and teams will wear specially designed caps and jerseys featuring an authentic military digital camouflage design licensed from the United States Marine Corps. Astronaut and West Point graduate Buzz Aldrin will throw out Monday's ceremonial first pitch. The teams will also observe a moment of silence prior to the game to honor members of the military who lost their lives in service.
The Dodgers will also welcome 50 members of the Wounded Warriors before the game, and U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant De'Jon Fruga from the 452nd mobility wing at March Air Force Base California will sing the national anthem.
Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.