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Nothing in L.A. is really real.

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Know Your Enemy: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Yankees of the West welcome the White Sox of the Midwest

Following a brutal series loss to the Marlins, in which the White Sox played the role of hapless victim and secondary character in someone else’s inspiring story, it is time to head west to the City of Angels. But there aren’t a lot of angels whispering in the ears of Sox fans: It is devils all the way down, urging harm and mayhem.

And so we go into this series downtrodden and defeated, the slightest promise of a turnaround wiped out by a miserable bullpen and a general lack of baseball acumen. Heard this story before? All last year, and all this year? Well as Sid Hudgens of Hush Hush magazine said, “Something has to be done, but nothing too original, because hey, this is Hollywood.”

The Sox and the Dodgers have an all-time record of 17-17, so if your self-worth rides on the Sox vs. the Dodgers, and who is doing better, this is going to be an intense three days for you. Also, man, what the hell?

So How Are They Doing, Anyway?

It’s been kind of a weird year for the Dodgers. They started out pretty poorly, at least relative to their years of success unburdened by sweat, and then got hot and climbed back to the top of the NL West. The last week has seen a 3-7 slump, with series losses to the Yankees, Reds, and Phillies. They’re now in second place to the Diamondbacks, a sentence that my computer keeps underlining in red, not for grammar or spelling but sheer absurdity.

That said, the Dodgers are too good to be bad. Ideally, their cool streak will continue for a few days. Right now, they have a serious case of feast-or-famine pitching.

Are the Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?

Oh yeah, these guys can mash some taters. Incredibly, they’ve overtaken Tampa for the home-run lead. Max Muncy and Mookie Betts are both near the league lead, with J.D. Martinez and Freddie Freeman not too far behind. They’re near the top of the league in nearly every batting statistic.

Freddie Freeman, whose full name must always be said, if you care at all about euphony, is having a season very pleasing to the eye. He’s sitting pretty with a .999 OPS, buoyed by a .413 OBP. Freeman is only 33 but it seems like he’s been around forever. This might be his best non-strike year yet.

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

The Dodgers pitching has been middling-to-bad. Our starters have been, for the most part, good-to-very good. We won’t speak of the bullpen in this section, which went from a weakness to a strength to a source of teeth-gnashing frustration.

Tuesday, June 13
Sox: Lance Lynn (4-6. 6.72) is cooked, man. He seems washed. It’s a genuine liability. We all like the dude, but at some point, he’s Dallas Keuchel on the mound.

Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 2.21) has been a bright spot after coming back from an injury. The pitching has been there, but the Dodgers are worried about a relapse, and he is pitching on extra rest after Dave Roberts pushed his Sunday start back. His fastball is a bit slower than it was after his ridiculous 2022.

Wednesday, June 14
Sox SP4 (3-4, 4.19) is pitching for the Sox.

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (8-4, 2.95) mowed down the Reds in his last start, going seven scoreless frames with nine punchouts. He’s past ageless territory. This is still kind of a gross matchup, overall.

Thursday, June 15
Sox: Dylan Cease (3-3, 4.38) looked good against Miami. Remember that win? Maybe we were going somewhere. Anyway, Dylan has been completely middling overall.

Dodgers: Michael Grove (0-2, 8.28) has only had two decent starts this year, and they’ve both been against the Cubs. He was most recently used behind an opener, but got rocked by Philly. He’ll go 7 2⁄3 innings with 11 Ks.

Why Do We Hate Los Angeles?

There are a lot of standard reasons to hate L.A. The endless artifice. The clogging traffic, turning what is a true paradise into a hellish slog, symbolizing the worst of our extraction addiction. The way it drains water from everywhere around it, consuming with a Wendigo selfishness, never giving, only taking. And I don’t have anything to correct — this is all true!

That said, there is something bleakly fascinating about a city that was founded on and has lived by a chesty defiance of what is natural and yet is so beholden to nature. You take a wrong turn in L.A. and you’re lost in barren hills. You are in constant threat of mudslides, of fires eating up subdivisions built in opposition to the laws of nature and of common sense, of the earth swallowing whole the dreams of people who thought they could escape their past.

America moved toward Los Angeles, spiritually and physically, and the city stands at the ocean, as far as the country can go, feeling itself immune and invincible, but being eaten away by unstable ground. It is the pinnacle of human glamor, but no glamor can protect it from the future. It is greeting the terrible future with stretched-face optimism and blithe, boosterish ignorance. It sunbathes blithely while feeling the flames licking at its back. Los Angeles is the coming apocalypse. It is our hot and uncertain future.

Why Do We Hate the Dodgers?

You know what? It’s not because they cracked the code to being good, which is annoying. It’s not because they have been so good for so long and only have one pandemic-dulled ring to show for it. It’s not even because they left Brooklyn, setting off the owner-led blackmail scheme that cowers every civic leader terrified of being the Mayor Who Lost The Royals or whatever. It’s not even because building their ballpark destroyed a thriving Mexican neighborhood, in a perfect storm of freeway culture, cruel city planning, and outright racism — though honestly, it’s very much that.

No, it’s that moving from Brooklyn made every fucking boomer from New York feel that they were personally traumatized. They get to talk about it on documentaries where they invoke “Jackie” like their parents wouldn’t have kicked him off a bus. They get sepia memories and never shut the hell up about it. I feel like I know Billy Crystal’s thoughts on the subject more than I know my middle name. It’s annoying.

Let’s Hear it From White Sox Fans!

A terrible stadium/stadium meats!

They are disappointing!

Because of White Sox Twitter Reasons!

Because L.A. is a cruel and terrible place!

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