If the Freeway Series were on the East Coast, the Dodgers would be the Yankees and the Angels would be the Mets.
At least, that's how Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sees it.
"I think the Dodgers would be the Yankees -- honestly, because of the history and tradition of the club," Mattingly said Tuesday, holding back a laugh. "Yeah, the Dodgers are the Yankees."
The Dodgers won't take a subway train to Anaheim for Wednesday's continuation of their four-game series, but Mattingly said the Interleague rivalry has the feel of the Yankees-Mets rivalry he experienced for years in New York.
"I think it's really similar. I think it feels very similar just because we're so close," Mattingly said. "This is the best buzz out here, I think. The San Francisco one's good, but this one's got more that inner-city energy to it. I like it. I think it's good. They've got a good club. We've got a good club."
And those two clubs have battled in a back-and-forth series that began with two games at Dodger Stadium. Led by Garrett Richards' first career shutout, the Angels took the opener, 5-0. The Dodgers took a 5-4 walk-off win in a topsy-turvy second game.
After the Angels found success putting up runs early against Dodger co-aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, they'll face a struggling starter in Dan Haren, a former Angels staffer whose turn in the rotation has been in doubt in recent weeks.
Haren is in the midst of a five-game losing streak. In that span, Haren has a 10.03 ERA, allowing 36 hits and six home runs in 23 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit .340 with a 1.016 OPS against him.
"Obviously, you still think Danny can pitch," Mattingly said. "Obviously, he hasn't been that great lately. Probably Danny is feeling worse than anybody.
"We know we're going to get everything Dan has every time out. And that's what I appreciate about him. Is that still good enough at this point? Right now, he's starting."
Haren will work against right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who has had his own difficulties of late. In his last four starts, Shoemaker is 2-2 with a 7.45 ERA.
But Shoemaker could be turning the corner -- he picked up a win against Tampa Bay in has last start, holding the Rays to three runs (two earned) in five innings.
He'll look to defend the Angels' home turf as the Freeway Series rages on.
"Geographically, it's obviously really interesting when you're 30 minutes away on the freeway," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't know if it's quite the same intensity that are around certainly with the Dodgers and the Giants, or the Yankees and Boston, and the Mets and Yankees in New York, who are battling depending on which team is having a better era.
"I don't know there's a rivalry yet that's brewing, but I think if you put us both in the same division, in the same league, I think you'd have really a lot of things to talk about."
Angels: Toe tap works wonders for Hamilton
Josh Hamilton said he abandoned a toe tap in his swing in May 2010, but he reintroduced it during batting practice a couple of weeks ago, incorporated it into games this past weekend in St. Petersburg and -- coincidentally or not -- finally started hitting for power.
During batting practice prior to Monday's Freeway Series opener, the 33-year-old blasted a ball out of Dodger Stadium. Then, in that night's sixth inning, he hit a towering home run off Zack Greinke, giving him three long balls in seven games after managing only two in his previous 46.
"Coming in, working on the same thing every time, you get a little stagnant, you know what I mean?" Hamilton said. "And I've always had the power with the toe tap. I felt like I was in a good, strong, powerful hitting position. It just gives me something to be excited about. Something new, but that I'm used to in the past and I've been successful at."
"It's probably the best we've seen him swing the bat in batting practice since he's been here," added Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He's been working with it, he's taking it into the game, and I think you're seeing that bat speed that we're accustomed to seeing. Hopefully it's going to translate into a terrific finish for Josh this season, because he's important to us."
Dodgers: Rodriguez on disabled list
The Dodgers lost their third bullpen arm on the homestand Tuesday with left-hander Paco Rodriguez joining the disabled list along with right-hander Chris Perez (right ankle spurs) and left-hander Paul Maholm (season-ending ACL tear).
Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a teres major strain (near his left shoulder), three days after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque. Right-hander Pedro Baez was called up to replace him.
"It's terribly disappointing," Rodriguez said. "It's just one of those things where I want to come back up and help out in whatever way possible. And when something like that happens you just don't know what to tell yourself at that point. And you're mentally frustrated and you're upset with yourself, because for me I felt like I didn't do enough to keep myself healthy. It's another learning curve in my whole career."
The injury is the same one that sidelined Kershaw for a month earlier this year.
"They said it wasn't as bad as Kersh's," Rodriguez said. "It was the same kind of diagnosis. Hopefully, it's 15 to 20 days."
Rodriguez hopes to begin a throwing program in three to five days, after the swelling has gone down.
• Mike Trout has a 20-game hitting streak in Interleague games, hitting .439 (36-for-82) during that span. It is the longest current streak in the Majors and the longest in franchise history.
• Haren pitched three seasons with the Angels from 2010-12, going 33-27 with a 3.52 ERA in 79 games (78 starts).
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.