Luke’s Look at All Things L.A.- Week of: 7/10/22-7/16/22

Angels: 

7/10: This game from the Angels was rather promising, given the struggles the Halos’ batters were having last week. That being said, it appears that the Orioles saved their best for last, putting on a slew of hits to win the game 9-5. As I mentioned, however, there were some moments where I was impressed with Angels hitters. Monte Harrison had three RBIs on the game and Max Stassi hit a nice homer in the top of the eighth. The Angels won’t be happy with the series result, now losing four in a row, but maybe they can turn things around versus their AL West opponents, the Astros, who swept them in the series earlier this month.

7/12: What an absolutely janky game. The Angels by no measure deserved to win this one, but that didn’t stop the team from keeping it close enough to hurt when they lost. Angels pitchers allowed eight hits and walked seven more, and on the other side the Astros gave up two hits, but walked six. There were two errors on each team, and even Angels star Mike Trout had to exit the game with an injury. This game was a mess from start to finish. Astros win it 6-5.

7/13: It’s official, I am a Shohei Ohtani fan through and through. Every week he finds new ways to impress me, but this performance really just capitalized on what a dominant player he is and why he is the most qualified individual to attend the All-Star game this season. Ohtani as a pitcher allowed only four hits and one run in six innings today, meanwhile striking out 12 batters. Ohtani as a batter was also extremely impressive, I didn’t even feel the loss of not having Mike Trout playing this game. 2-4 batting with two RBIs and a run, Shohei Ohtani continues to carry this team on his back to whatever victories they can put together. Angels end the five game loss streak with a 7-1 stomp.

7/14: Tough way to lose today, but the Angels fought hard to try to get this one and at the end of the day, I have to respect how close of a margin they lost by. After going down 2-0 in the first inning, to be able to tie it up and take it into extra innings, the Angels showed a lot of heart today. I truly thought they might pull it off, especially when they had a runner on second in the bottom of the 10th, but due to some heroics by Mauricio Dubon and Ryan Pressly, the Astros hold on to win it 3-2. Houston takes the series 2-1.

Week Review: I won’t lie, this week has been another painful one when it comes to being a Angels fan. Another week at 1-5 certainly puts a dent in my faith that the Halos can turn this season around enough to even grab a wild card spot. While it is said that anything can happen and that any team can win on any given day, my hope is beginning to dwindle. The only bright spot I have been seeing of late is Shohei Ohtani, who, let’s be honest, if the Angels don’t give him a big payday or a winning team after this season, could very easily find a home on another team that would be lucky to have such a talented dual threat. In my opinion, this is the time to start looking forward as a team and planning how to turn into contenders next season. As for this season, the break of the All-Star Game festivities should prove beneficial to refresh the team and come back better than before.

Dodgers: 

7/10: What a game! This one was high scoring and a real team effort, with just about everyone contributing to the scoring in some way. I think many people would have written off the Dodgers in this one after the top of the first inning where the Cubs had five runs and a grand slam. The Dodgers, however, refused to give up on themselves, battling back into it and taking the victory 11-9. Freddie Freeman batted in the final two runs to give Los Angeles the victory, but again, this was nothing short of a team effort and a team success. The Dodgers have now won seven in a row.

7/12: Close, but no cigar. The Dodgers lose a close one against the St. Louis Cardinals to start the series, bringing their seven game streak to a close. Once again it was a stellar game off of the bat of Freddie Freeman who had four hits in five at bats with a double, a homer, 2 RBIs, and a run. Dodgers pitcher Mitchell White put up a disappointing start, pitching for five innings and allowing 10 hits and six runs in the 7-6 loss.

7/13: Yesterday, the Cardinals scraped out a victory against a red-hot Dodgers team, and today the Dodgers rebounded and proved just how evenly matched these two teams are, winning this game with the inverse score of their previous meeting, taking the win 7-6. Early on it was not pretty, with the Dodgers trailing 6-0 after the bottom of the sixth, but once the Dodgers got their bats going, it became difficult to silence them, with RBIs coming off of the bats of Will Smith, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Max Muncy, and finally Hanser Alberto who sent Cody Bellinger across the plate for the winning run. This was an incredible display of teamwork to bring the series even at 1-1. Win or lose, I’m hoping for another close one tomorrow.

7/14: The Dodgers are looking hot right now, winning nine of their last ten games and this one being a shutout as they best the Cardinals 4-0. This game had a lot of bright points to it, from the terrific fielding performance of Mookie Betts to the consistency of Freddie Freeman’s bat to the pitching squad limiting St. Louis to only five hits all game. The Dodgers are looking nigh unstoppable coming into the battle for L.A. as they take this series, 2-1, their fourth series win in a row.

Week Review: The Dodgers have been hot again this week, hell, they’ve been on fire for the first half of July so far. Closing the week out at 5-1, the Dodgers have really been looking like the most complete team in the league right now. The bullpen has been locking people up pretty consistently (although they weren’t quite as good as I would have liked Sunday-Wednesday) and the batting across the board has been stellar. Most times in baseball we’ll see a few good teams that are headlined by a few really strong batters, but on this team every batter shows up consistently and everyone seems to have a breakout game at some point in the week. I’m looking at the Dodgers as the team to beat in the National League.

The Battle For L.A. (MLB Edition):

7/16: This is a big series. It’s a story of two teams, their seasons going completely opposite directions, yet there is still competition to be had as to who is Los Angeles’ team.

The Dodgers wasted no time proving their ownership of this city, putting Clayton Kershaw on the mound and letting him absolutely terrorize the struggling Angels batters in their home stadium. Through eight innings of pitching Kershaw gave up only a single hit, one that would not come until the eighth inning to spoil the hopes of a perfect game. The Angels would only get one other hit all night, a solo homer to right field off of the bat of Brandon Marsh. As for the Dodgers batters, they were hot all night, especially Justin Turner, who went 3-5 with four RBIs and a run. At the end of the day, the Dodgers were just better across the board in this game, at every point of focus. The final score tells it better than I did: Dodgers take game one 9-1.

7/17: Truly, I have to admit, I was holding out for the Angels to take this one. I didn’t think it would be the case, but winning this one would have been a huge confidence booster going into the week of break. It was not to be though and the Dodgers once again proved to us why it is that they reign supreme over L.A. Aside from the Angels being able to even out the number of hits today, this game felt spookily similar to last night where again the Dodgers crushed it, and the only run scored on behalf of the Angels was another Brandon Marsh solo shot in the late innings of the game. The difference today, for me, was a difference between pitching crews. While both bullpens only allowed seven hits and struck out 10 or more, the statistic that I’m really looking at is walks. The Dodgers walked none whereas the Angels walked four. While this fact may not have changed the outcome of this game, it turned a game that would have otherwise been equal in hits and gave the advantage to the Dodgers for being able to get more runners on base. Once it was all said and done this was, at very least, an entertaining game as five home runs were launched into the crowd, two off of the bat of Trea Turner, one from Max Muncy, another courtesy of Freddie Freeman, and the aforementioned solo shot from Brandon Marsh. Dodgers sweep the short series 2-0 with a 7-1 victory.

Clippers: 

As a writer and an analyst one of the greatest feelings in the world is being able to look at what other authors write on the same topic as you and having them address many of the same concerns that you yourself had. This recently happened to me in regards to my article last week where I covered the Clippers and how they may encounter issues of having too much star power.

That being said, it looks to be that this won’t be an issue for the Clippers, at least according to all reports as the most potentially volatile position at point guard, with a contest between Reggie Jackson and John Wall, seems to be completely peaceful. I think this has to be because of how John Wall was sidelined while on the Houston Rockets. The “need to carry” mentality seems to not plague Wall and instead he seems to be prepared to simply fill whatever role he can on this championship contending team.

This is such a good sign going forward for Clippers fans. With ego out of the way the Clippers may put together a team that is fully capable of taking over the league. Another added benefit of a lack of ego issues is that, perhaps, these star players will enjoy the success that they have together enough to not get greedy for all of the money they are actually worth in order to be able to continue to play together and put up a run of repeated successes.

I’d like to draw a very common comparison of this kind of selflessness in regards to contract to Tom Brady, one of the most successful athletes in any sport all time. Brady is the best quarterback to ever have the position, no debate, yet he is not even in the top 10 of highest paid quarterbacks in the league right now. Brady actually sits at #15 on highest paid quarterbacks in the league per year, $25 million+ below what Aaron Rodgers makes, despite having six more rings than the Green Bay quarterback. If the Clippers can imitate this kind of teamwork and selfless contracting, I could see the Clippers being a superpower in the league for years to come and undoubtedly securing at least one ring during that stretch.

Lakers: 

LeBron James is coming back with the Lakers this year, making this his 20th season in the NBA. However, after last season’s disappointments, I am left to wonder that if the Lakers falter this season again, will the Lakers opt to part ways with James in 2023?

Sure, LeBron’s numbers have been consistent throughout his career, but he’s been struggling quite clearly in his last few seasons with the Lakers. The Lakers under James have missed the playoffs in 2 of 4 seasons, something that has been unseen in James’ career since his first two seasons in the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers. On top of all of that, James has struggled to remain healthy over the course of a full season, with his last four seasons being four of the five lowest in “games played per season” in his career.

What it all comes down to is that James is no longer the most dominant force in the league, and in fact, it is painful to see this player, who is undoubtedly bound for the Hall of Fame, seemingly falling apart physically in his final seasons rather than retiring with grace. As painful as it is to say, we need to expect this is the final season of Lebron James’ career and appreciate what time we have left witnessing his performance on the court.

Chargers: 

It is a new week and yet again I have to find Chargers content for you all because the NFL offseason has been extremely dry. So this week I am going to do a detailed analysis of the rest of the AFC West and tell why I believe that the Chargers have the edge.

The Raiders have definitely made some strong acquisitions for themselves this offseason, and their defensive line looks scary with Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. Offensively they have an impressive running back in Josh Jacobs and a good looking group of receivers. That all being said, the Raiders’ weakness lies in their secondary. They have a good safety in Duron Harmon and that is about all. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are going to dominate in games versus the Raiders this season.

The Broncos make me feel like they are only half of a team. I know there are high expectations with the arrival of Russell Wilson and I do realistically expect that he will carry the Broncos through this season. That being said, I am not at all phased by their defense. I have the Chargers winning both of the matchups against the Broncos this year and I think the offense will be on fire in those games with incredible showings from Justin Herbert.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ve got to say it, the Chiefs defense is unimpressive. With the loss on offense of Tyreek Hill, the defense needs to step up and put out a good showing. That being said, it has been several years since I have been impressed by a Chiefs defense. I truly believe that the Chargers are the better team all around and should win this matchup on both sides of the ball.

Rams: 

The Rams have also been rather boring this week, so let’s look at the NFC West and see where the Rams keys to success will lie in each matchup.

The Seahawks, in my opinion, are going to be a mess this season and are hardly worth mentioning. This is a rebuilding year for them and so I expect the Rams will take advantage of that fact and close out two really easy wins here.

The battle for California supremacy in the NFC West versus the 49ers will be an entertaining one, as it always is. The issue for the 49ers is that they have no really big name players or promising rising stars other than Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. If the Rams can lock down those two players the game is as good as won.

The Cardinals, I believe, will be the most formidable opponent for the Rams this season. This team is strong all around, but the point of pressure for getting the win here has to be Kyler Murray. Murray attempted 481 passes last season and 14.1% of those were deemed to be bad passes and uncatchable, which seems like a lot, but is actually pretty low for the league and is also the lowest rate in his career. That being said, if the Rams defense, lead by Aaron Donald, can put him under pressure and make him uncomfortable while passing, the Rams stand a great chance of prompting mistakes that they can capitalize off of.

Author

  • Luke Nelson

    Luke Nelson (he/him) is an article writer for Mental Dimes, specializing in NFL related news and analysis. He currently is going through college to obtain his bachelors in Creative Writing.

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