05/17/08 5:05 PM ET
Dodgers feel Freeway Series intensity
Matchups are spirited, but not as bitter as those with Giants
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
Prior to Interleague Play, the two clubs met just once each year at the close of Spring Training in the aptly named Freeway Series. But since 1997, the two clubs have met twice in the regular season to play a pair of three-game home-and-home series.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre -- who experienced heated rivalries with the Red Sox and Mets, and added the Rays to that list given that St. Petersburg is the Yankees' Spring Training home and that of owner George Steinbrenner -- said the Southern California version ranks.
"Only so many of these [Interleague] rivalries work. This is one, Chicago is another and New York is the other," Torre said. "I think the players feed off of things when you have the numbers that you can put in the seats. The players certainly can feel that."
Andre Ethier, who homered in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Angels, said the vibe when the two teams meet raises the intensity level, but remains friendly.
"Most of the fans are family members," Ethier said. "It is a little more civil here. The Dodgers-Giants [rivalry] is more violent. There is no love. It is always a bitter battle. Here, it's family. They get after each other, but at the end, they have to go home together."
On the field, it's been a little one-sided of late. The Angels currently have the edge, with a 36-27 record over the Dodgers in Interleague Play that includes eight wins in the last nine games.
"It is disappointing in general to come here and perform this way," Ethier said. "Especially over the last three years."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.