Luke’s Look at All Things L.A.- Week of: 7/24/22-7/30/22

Angels: 

7/24: Maybe my wish from last week’s Week Review is coming to fruition as somehow the Angels have managed to not only win a game, but stomp the Braves in the win today. It started strong in the first inning with a Taylor Ward homer and then The rest of the Angels followed suit, especially Max Stassi and Luis Rengifo, who I was really impressed by today. Hopefully we can see more of the same in the coming days, spurred on by this 9-1 triumph.

7/25: Ok, yesterday was a fantastic high, but now we need to come back down to Earth. This showing was all Kansas City, all day, with the Royals getting more runs than the Angels even had hits. From the sixth to the eighth innings the Royals really kicked the pace of the game up a notch and put together a statement 7-0 win over L.A.

7/26: What is this team right now? They either look unstoppable or unable to lift a paper weight on any given night. Today’s victory was one of the former, shutting out the Royals 6-0. Angels’ pitchers looked great today, allowing only five hits in nine innings. On top of that, Angels batters got hot tonight with two homers, one off of the bat of my favorite Angel, Shohei Ohtani, and the other coming from Max Stassi, his fourth RBI in the last three games. Now that the Angels have already met my expectation of this week on day three, I’m excited to see if they can exceed them and make this a positive week.

7/27: Help, I think I’m starting to believe again. The Angels won again, this time 4-0, winning their first series since the end of last month against the White Sox. Runs came in from several members of the Halos’ roster, with RBIs coming off the bats of Phil Gosselin, Brandon Marsh, Andrew Velazquez, and Shohei Ohtani. Pitching was also fantastic today with only seven hits allowed, one walk, and 13 strikeouts. Largely responsible for the pitching success today was the performance of Janson Junk who pitched five innings and was very successful in that stretch. I’d like to see more of this pitching for the Angels in the rest of this week, especially as we are only one win off of a positive week.

7/28: This game was fairly unimpressive on both sides of the game, with two runs being all the difference in this one. Shohei Ohtani’s pitching wasn’t perfect, but it was far from being the cause of the loss today. In fact, Ohtani did well and struck out 11 today, bringing him to 96 K’s on the season. Pitching on the other side was not flashy, but it got the job done for the Rangers, limiting the Angels’ batters to only five hits on the game and just generally locking them down. Luis Rengifo had the best game for the Angels tonight, nearly completing a trip around the world if he had been able to homer as he had a single, a double, and a triple on the night. L.A. loses today 2-0.

7/29: Somehow L.A. scored more tonight than they did yesterday, on one less hit. Being held to just four hits this game, the Angels’ batters really struggled all evening. To be fair, both teams struggled in this game until it got to the ninth inning, during which Aaron Loup and Elvis Peguero threw away any semblance of a close ballgame. With five Rangers runs coming in the top of the ninth, the Angels lose the chance to go into extra innings, losing 7-2.

7/30: What a finish! Somehow the Angels did exactly what the Rangers did to them last night right back, scoring five runs in the late innings to close out the victory. It was a big night for Angels batters and their discretion as to when to take the walk and when to string hits together. Shohei Ohtani and Max Stassi were both great tonight in my opinion, as they have been all week. Ohtani had another homer today, his second of the week, and Stassi put together five RBIs and three runs on the week, with one of each tonight. Angels win 9-7.

Week Review: I’ll say it, I’m impressed. The losses have hurt, but the wins were more than I had expected or hoped for. I said it last week, I was looking for the Angels to go 2-5 and I would call it success and improvement, but instead they went 4-3, closing the week out on a positive note to break .500 for the last seven games. I’ve got some expectations now going forward, I want to see this happen again week to week and maybe even get slightly better. This is a win though, I’m celebrating this.

Dodgers: 

7/24: We got over the hump and won eight in a row! This one was a bit back and forth with several lead changes, but at the end of the day the Dodgers were able to close out the series sweep over the Giants. The Dodgers’ bullpen made the difference in this one, with 14 strikeouts and only allowing half that in hits all game. Dodgers win 7-4 to start the new week strong.

7/25: Eight straight was fantastic, but it was only a matter of time until the Dodgers couldn’t hold onto that anymore. In game one versus the Nationals the Dodgers fall short 4-1. Dodgers pitching was great on the night, but the Nationals did a good job of stringing together hits in the fifth inning, and that moment of unity and collective success drove in the all-important runs to win the meeting. Other than that, the night was really tame and unimpressive by either side, which I’d like to see change going into game two.

7/26: Ok, the second loss is a bit concerning, but with how good the Dodgers have been of late, I’m not ready to panic just yet. Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger both had solo homers tonight, but the pitching performance couldn’t keep the Nationals’ batters from getting hits. Only two of the Nationals’ lineup couldn’t secure a hit today in the 8-3 stomp in which Washington was able to put together 14 hits.

7/27: The Dodgers were able to take a win on the series to not get swept, a streak they’d like to keep going since the last time they were swept in a series was June 12th against the Giants. Today’s win was taken 7-1 over the Nationals in a game with no home runs, but a hell of a first inning in which the boys in blue absolutely embarrassed Patrick Corbin. In his start, Corbin allowed seven hits and six runs across just two thirds of an inning, yet still being forced to pitch 45 times, six more throws than Erasmo Ramirez who pitched 3.1 innings. Altogether, this felt like a needed rebound game to get the Dodgers back on pace to their winning ways.

7/28: Unlike the underwhelming game from their L.A. neighbors today, the Dodgers’ game brought nothing but excitement. All in the starting batting lineup scored today or got a hit today. As for pitching, this game wasn’t all too exciting on strikeouts, but when the bullpen only allows seven hits, and no runs all game, you will certainly take that. The Dodgers win today easily, 13-0 in a game in which they, surprisingly, didn’t have a single home run.

7/29: After dropping two games in a row, the Dodgers have turned the week around and won their last three, this time in a close one, holding on to a one run lead. Through the first three innings, both sides scored a lot, the Dodgers sending five home with some powerful hits, highlighted by two-run homers off the bats of Will Smith and Trayce Thompson. The Rockies almost swung the game back in their favor in the bottom of the ninth inning, sending in two more runs and having the tying run on second base, but the comeback was not to be as Ryan McMahon flew out on a great running catch from left fielder, Trayce Thompson. Dodgers win 5-4.

7/30: After winning the first two against the Rockies, the Dodgers dropped game three 5-3. Clayton Kershaw pitched alright, but it certainly was not the best showing out of him. Eight hits allowed, all five runs against him, and only three strikeouts in 92 pitches feels like a rough game and certainly not what we have grown to expect from him. Tough to take another loss after coming into the week so hot, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Week Review: Definitely not the week our expectations from last week would have liked to set up. 4-3, while a victory for our L.A. neighbors, is not a win when you are protecting a lead at the top of the division. The bullpen is where we need to step up and close out, especially since the Dodgers have allowed 26 runs this week. Batting put up 39 runs this week, which is fantastic and exactly what you want to see, but when 26 runs are allowed, there are undoubtedly going to be losses. Defense has to tighten up if this team is to keep their momentum and go far.

Clippers: 

We got the training camp roster this week and I’ve got to say, I’m very excited about the looks of this team. This roster feels complete and I’d even go as far as to say they’re stacked. Enough so to where I’m really wanting to make them favorites to win it this season. Let’s not jump the gun too early, however, there’s still an entire season to play. Instead, let me tell you what I need to see out of the Clippers in order to continue pumping hope into this squad.

1. Most importantly, this team must show very early on that they are capable of working together. By all reports, they look like they should be able to get along nicely, but we will see if they can practice what it is they have been preaching. I don’t want to hear news of any drama, heated battles for starting spots, or any of that. These players have nothing to prove when it comes to talent. The difference in what will make or break this season is cooperation and putting the differences aside to be successful together.

2. I said it before and I will restate it again and again, ego playing needs to be taken care of early on, preferably before the season even starts. No “need to carry” mentalities are allowed on anyone, this must be a team-oriented success.

3. Rebounding. It’s simple, but necessary for controlling the pace of the game. The Clippers struggled with this last season and I would like to see them improve upon it at every position on both offense and defense this year.

This list is not complicated, and if you have been following “Luke’s Look at All Things L.A.” for a while now, you will realize that I have mentioned all of these before, but now is the moment for the Clippers to put the ideas into action and, hopefully, be able to turn this season from promising into proactive.

Lakers: 

There have been a lot of trade rumors surrounding Russell Westbrook and where he might end up in the next season. Personally, I have been very vocal in my criticism of Westbrook’s performance lately. Instead of looking at what team I think would be a good fit for Westbrook, I would like to talk about why L.A. is not that team.

First off, Westbrook is expensive. Like I mentioned last week, his contract is too large for the performance he puts out, and honestly, the Lakers can’t afford to fund it for another season. Not only can they not really afford it monetarily, but as far as time is concerned, the Lakers are limited in what they can do now to provide for themselves in the coming years.

The Lakers need to be looking, not at this season, but the next few years, during which they will have to build a team without LeBron James and start fresh with a bunch of young talent. LeBron’s role is no longer really to carry the game on his back, although he has shown us that he still is capable of doing so if needed, but rather to step back and be an educator to the next generation of young players. He needs to be a mentor to help perpetuate the style of play in the game that he perfected.

Russell Westbrook just doesn’t fit into that plan. His contract is rather selfish, which is fair, I can’t personally say that I wouldn’t take the big money if it was offered to me, but it is not constructive to building a championship team or one that is looking to a fresh start and rebuilding. Westbrook is a fine player for a team who needs a little bit more star power, but that team isn’t the Lakers and I truly hope he finds a new home by the start of the season so the rebuild can start sooner rather than later.

Chargers: 

With less than two months to go until the start of the NFL regular season, we have already looked at such things as my predictions of the Chargers’ records and my defense of why I believe as I do in those picks. However, the recent ESPYs has me thinking of what awards we could see coming to L.A. next season, and which Chargers I would make a case for receiving them.

MVP: We all know that this award is, although it’s stupid in my opinion, exclusively for quarterbacks and running backs. In the words of my fifth grade teacher, “life isn’t fair and it isn’t equal” and truly, neither is the MVP race. With the Chargers’ offense being as stacked as it is and the defense being well-rounded and good at getting the ball back for their offense, this is the year for Justin Herbert to get it done. Calling it now: Justin Herbert runs it neck and neck with Tom Brady down to the end of the season and takes the MVP for himself.

OPOY: The second place trophy for position players who don’t get as much love as their passers. Keenan Allen will give Cooper Kupp a run for his money this season. I’ll spice this up and make a bold prediction though: 115 catches, 1,500 yards, and 12 touchdowns: all career highs by a wide margin. Feel free to save this stat line for when it comes true in January.

DPOY: Khalil Mack. With a team full of promise and a defense that can hold its own weight, you better believe Mack is back with a vengeance and coming for a lot more than his spot on the Pro Bowl roster. This is the season we see Khalil Mack as Aaron Donald’s equal.

Rams: 

Alright, let’s switch it up this week and do a ring review. I’ll be grading on a scale of 1-10 the different aspects of this Super Bowl ring and telling you what I like, and don’t, about this memorable piece of hardware. The categories we will be grading on: Looks, Representation, and Uniqueness.

Looks: 8.9

I’m not giving it a 9 because not going to lie, I just hate how the way to make a ring lately has been “bigger is better.” It looks clunky and I kind of hate that. Bonus points come for the layers and the detail that went into the ring, which is honestly so impressive I almost want to forgive the massive gaudy ring.

Representation: 10

This is literally such a good collector’s piece for the reigning champions and I love the effort that went into this. The detail of making SoFi Stadium in the ring, the piece of game ball… it is just such a well thought-out ring. I love the detail that went into this almost as much as I loved the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI ring with 283 diamonds in it. If you know, you know.

Uniqueness: 9

It is a good ring, the representation drives the impressiveness of this ring up by a large margin, but if it wasn’t for the inside of the ring I would honestly be completely unimpressed. The inner detail makes it all for me, otherwise I would have given it a 6.5 or 7.

Overall: 9

Definitely not my favorite ring of all time, but certainly not the worst to ever be made. It is top five for sure.

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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