It’s finally here, the series that has been circled on many calendars since the 2019 season schedule was announced. The New York Yankees visit the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, for what could be a possible World Series matchup.
The Dodgers and the Yankees have a lot of history, going back to their days of coexisting in the same city. They’ve played each other in the World Series 11 times, more than any other AL-NL matchup. The Dodgers have only won three of those, including the last one in 1981.
Los Angeles played in Yankee Stadium in 2016, and the Yankees have not been to Dodger Stadium since 2013. The Dodgers lead their inter-league regular season series seven to six.
These two teams seem like they might be headed to a 12th meeting in the Fall Classic. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, and the Yankees have the best record in the AL, sitting at 83-46, eight games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the lead in the AL East, and one game ahead of the Houston Astros for overall AL best record.
The Yankees have been slugging their way to their wins, as their starting pitching staff has not been all that great. They are 16th in team ERA at 4.53, whereas the Dodgers are first at 3.32. The Dodgers are also first in WHIP at 1.10, and the Yankees come in 11th at 1.32. They are incredibly close for number of strikeouts, with LA having 1182 and New York having 1175 as a staff.
Where they differ in pitching is in their bullpen. The Yankees lead the majors in most saves, with 48. The Dodgers come in 14th with 32. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has 35 saves, a 3-2 record and 2.36 ERA with 72 strikeouts over 49.2 innings of work. It will be a matchup of two teams trying to out-slug their pitching deficiencies to get the wins.
Speaking of slugging, the Yankees have quiet a few guys who do just that. Gleyber Torres is absolutely out of his mind right now. The 22 year old wasn’t thought to be a home run hitter, but now has 31 on the season and hit two in Thursday night’s game alone, where he also went 4-for-4. He has a .899 OPS and has eight multi-homer games, which ties him for most in Yankees history. He also has more than 40 walks, showing his patience at the plate.
D.J. LeMahieu has had a resurgence since joining the Yankees, batting .331, fourth highest in the majors so far this season. He has 21 homers and a .907 OPS. He is in a little bit of a slump lately, gathering only one hit in his last three games. Gary Sanchez, while only batting .234, has 28 homers. Oddly, in the age of big blasts, the biggest Yankee Aaron Judge only has 13. Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with a strained PCL, is on the IL and hopes to be back in time for the playoffs.
Pitching matchups will see the best pitcher in the major leagues Hyun-Jin Ryu taking on James Paxton. The Yankees south paw is 9-6 on the season, with a 4.53 ERA and 141 strikeouts. He’s allowed eight runs in his last three outings, averaging six innings an outing.
Saturday’s matinee game will feature Tony Gonsolin, once again making a key start in his young big league career. He will be facing off against CC Sabathia. The lefty veteran is 5-7 with a 5.01 ERA and 87 strikeouts. He’s coming off an outing where he only went three innings, allowing four earned runs to the Cleveland Indians.
Sunday’s game will be the ESPN Game of the Week, and will see Clayton Kershaw take on Domingo German, the Yankees’ best pitcher this season. The right hander is 16-3 with a 4.15 ERA. He did allow five runs in his last outing Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics.
Los Angeles is feeling good after sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays, (even if they needed two consecutive walk-offs to get the sweep), and the Yankees come in having been swept by the Oakland A’s. New York has a 6.04 ERA on the road this season, which is the worst in the MLB. Conversely, the three starting pitchers for the Dodgers have a combined 20-0 record at home this season.
It should shape up to be a fun weekend at Chavez Ravine, with the two best teams in baseball going head to head. Friday night’s game is at 7:10pm; Saturday’s game is at 1:10pm, and Sunday afternoon’s game starts at 4:10 PDT.