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Angels, Dodgers set for L.A. showdown

LOS ANGELES -- The Monday interleague Los Angeles showdown between the Angels and Dodgers presents a story both short and long.

The short part belongs to starter Rich Hill, who is first up for the Dodgers in the four-game series that consists of games Monday and Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, then Wednesday and Thursday at Angel Stadium.

Hill (4-3, 4.73 ERA) is short on starts this season due to multiple trips to the disabled list because of blisters on his pitching hand, and he is making short starts when healthy.

The long part of the story is Ricky Nolasco (2-9, 5.23), who is giving up too many long balls.

The Dodgers re-signed Hill to a three-year deal worth $48 million based on his role in getting the team to the 2016 National League Championship Series and a devastating curveball when it's working.

He has not gone longer than five innings in any of his nine starts this season, but if you ignore the brevity, you will find seven low-run efforts. He fits the Dodgers' new philosophy of starting pitchers -- five is fine, six is special, seven gets you a parade.

Hill battles, and he is tough on himself. After a recent subpar effort, he was blunt about the way it made him feel.

"It's just natural," he told the Orange County Register. "It's, 'Oh, I stink,' and I just want to crawl into a cave.

"It's awesome to see the team doing well. But I look at the loss and say, 'That was me,' you don't want to walk around with such a poopy diaper all the time."

The Dodgers are 4-1 in his past five starts, and Hill has allowed just six home runs in a season dominated by the long ball. He has faced the Angels six times in his career, five times in relief, producing a 6.23 ERA. They last crossed paths in 2013.

Nolasco has served up 23 home runs in 84 1/3 innings, and multiple home runs in 10 starts. Then there is the losing. He has dropped his past seven decisions in as many games. The Angels are 0-10 in his past 10 starts and 3-12 in his 15 outings this year. He has one quality start in his past six.

However, the Angels have scored just 19 runs for him in his past nine starts. Nolasco is 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers, the last meeting coming in 2012.

"Ricky's issue has been the same most nights," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitches well, then briefly loses focus or makes a mistake, and it comes back to haunt him. He's pitched well enough for us to win a lot of these games."

While the Angels are playing well, the Dodgers are sizzling, having won 10 straight and having homered in 17 consecutive games. The Angels have survived the loss of injured star Mike Trout and are 11-8 in their last 19 and still part of a large pack of American League teams with wild-card hopes.