Last year the Angels and Dodgers proved to be regular season juggernauts. In the playoffs, not so much.
From April to September, the Angels led the American League and the majors in wins with 98. The Dodgers had 94 wins, the second most in the National League behind Washington (96), the the third most wins in the majors. Both teams won their respective divisions. Both teams had league MVPs — Mike Trout for the Angels, Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. Kershaw also won the NL Cy Young Award as the league’s top pitcher, his third.
But both teams flopped spectacularly in the postseason, combining for one October win. That was by the Dodgers, who lost their divisional series to St. Louis in four games. The Angels were swept in three by a smokin’ hot Kansas City team in their divisional playoff.
So there were roster changes for both teams in the offseason — not sweeping, but still significant roster changes. (The Dodgers also revamped their front office.)
Both teams are feeling pressure to reach the World Series. The Dodgers haven’t done so since 1988, and the 26-year drought is their longest in Los Angeles. The Angels played in (and won) their only World Series in 2002.
As both teams finish up spring training in Arizona this week, and engage in their annual exhibition Freeway Series beginning tonight, April 2, at Angel Stadium, here’s a closer look at what may lie ahead in 2015.