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SEA@LAA: Richards dazzles vs. Mariners, fans seven

The Freeway Series could turn into much more come October.

When the Dodgers host the Angels on Monday night, Dodger Stadium will showcase two of baseball's three best teams and a potential World Series preview.

The Angels, who boast MLB's second-best record, will send Garrett Richards to the mound, who will try to halt his recent skid.

In his last two starts, Richards is 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA in losses to Detroit and Baltimore. Richards had dazzled in his previous nine starts, posting a 7-0 record and 1.25 ERA as the Angels won eight of those nine games.

The eight combined runs allowed over Richards' last two starts are his most in back-to-back outings since late May. His four strikeouts on Wednesday were his fewest since June 9, and the home run he allowed to Adam Jones was just the fifth dinger Richards has permitted all season.

In four career appearances against the Dodgers, Richards has a 2.63 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He last started against the Dodgers in 2012.

The National League-leading Dodgers, meanwhile, will send former Angel Zack Greinke to the hill.

Greinke made 13 starts as an Angel in 2012, after a midseason trade brought him over from Milwaukee. Since signing with the Dodgers in the winter of '12, Greinke has been superb, going 27-10 with a 2.63 ERA.

More recently, though, Greinke has been nearly untouchable. In his last two starts, both Dodger wins, the 30-year-old right-hander has pitched a combined 15 innings of one-run ball. He has a 23-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.733 WHIP over those games, as opponents batted just .167 against him.

By striking out 10 and 13 in his last two outings, Greinke notched consecutive double-digit-strikeout starts for the first time since 2011.

"I felt really good," Greinke said of his last start, a no-decision against the Braves. "All the pitches were working. Location was pretty good, and [I] had what felt like a good game plan."

Angels: Halos without a lefty reliever
The Angels placed Joe Thatcher on the disabled list on Sunday, after the left-handed specialist sprained his left ankle fielding a ball on Saturday.

The club also optioned left-hander Michael Roth, after he threw 4 2/3 innings in relief on Saturday.

To replace the pair of southpaws, the Angels recalled righties Cam Bedrosian and Fernando Salas.

It will be the third Major League stint of the season for Bedrosian, whose 11.57 ERA is inflated after a few rough outings. Salas was optioned last Saturday and will return quicker than expected after Thatcher's injury.

The Halos do not have an off-day until Aug. 11, and their eight-man bullpen will likely provide depth until then.

"We've got a lot of guys out there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "If we get the deep start from a starter, that's one thing. If we don't, we're gonna have to bridge the gap somehow. We should have enough, not only depth in length, but depth in numbers there, down there, to be able to hopefully work around it."

Dodgers: Gordon gets a breather
Second baseman Dee Gordon takes the term "everyday player" to heart. He's not going to ask for an off-day. Manager Don Mattingly doesn't expect him to.

But Gordon got Sunday off, regardless, and should return refreshed on Monday.

"It wasn't really planned," Mattingly said. "I was kind of trying to wait for a lefty. Different coaches were coming to me like, 'It looks like Dee needs a day.' Just, I think, leg-wise and things like that."

Gordon has played in 105 of 111 games this season, and he hasn't had a day off since June 8 in Colorado. A .295 hitter with a Major League-leading 51 stolen bases and 10 triples, Gordon's offensive production hasn't suffered. In fact, he entered Sunday on a modest five-game hitting streak, hitting safely in 11 of his last 13 games with a .328 average over that span.

But Mattingly didn't want to take any chances.

"I don't trust Dee yet," Mattingly said. "I think Dee's at the point where he wants to play every day, and he's kind of probably a little bit nervous about saying he needs a day. We understand that. I think that's where coaches are important, the guys who are dealing with him every day, seeing him every day. Maybe he has a little more confidence in saying that one little word that tells you, 'Yeah, I need a day.'

"We'll be careful with him. We'll see where is. He's pretty young. I think he'll keep up the pace."

Worth noting
• Collin Cowgill, on the disabled list with a broken nose and thumb, could be activated prior to Monday's game.

• The Angels are 12-7 in their last 19 games at Dodger Stadium and 51-31 against the Dodgers under Scioscia.

• Catcher A.J. Ellis was out of the lineup for the second straight game on Sunday, after taking a foul ball off of his right knee twice. Mattingly said that he expected Ellis to be ready to play on Monday.

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