When the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Los Angeles Dodgers began their Freeway Series at Chavez Ravine last August, some pegged it as a World Series preview.
The Angels defeated Zack Greinke in the first game, then were charged with the task of facing Clayton Kershaw the following night. With both teams boasting rosters with a bevy of star players, Kershaw and Mike Trout reigned two of the predominant names.
Much was made of the first-ever regular season matchup between the eventual NL and AL MVP winners, however Kershaw refused to specifically address facing Trout and instead said he would answer questions on competing against the Angels team.
Ever the competitor, Kershaw may have been less-inclined to focus on Trout considering he went 2-for-3 with a double. The megastars were recently reunited to fulfill duties tied to their respective endorsement deals with Subway.
After not going in-depth on squaring off with Trout in his postgame interview, Kershaw willingly discussed the matchup and said he wasn’t annoyed by the attention it drew, via ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
There is obviously a little bit of hype the first time and he got the better of me that day and, hopefully, I get him out more than I did that day,” Kershaw said. “I don’t think, ‘Annoy,’ is the right word, but if I get him out four times but don’t get anybody else out, it’s not going to be a very good day, so for him getting hits off me is the main focus for that day. For me, it’s a little different. I’ve got to focus on the whole lineup. It’s a little different mindset I think.”
Trout then offered insight into his approach against the three-time Cy Young Award winner:
My first at-bat, I just ran as fast as I could to first, beat that one out. Then, my second at-bat I had a little different approach. I don’t really swing first pitch a lot and I tried to jump on a fastball and I hit a double down the line,” he said. “My third at-bat against him, he painted three pitches and, I mean I just looked at three of them. It’s just always fun to face the top guys. it’s always a challenge to rise to the occasion.”
The Angels and Dodgers will play four exhibition games and meet in two three-game series with each team hosting a series during the regular season. While it’s entirely too early to predict if Kershaw and Trout will have the opportunity to match wits once more, the success and failure from their Aug. 5, 2013 matchup will surely be on their minds if they do.
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