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Dodgers: Previewing the Interleague Match-Up with the Yankees

New York in Los Angeles. This is what you wait for.

Last weekend, the Dodgers played the Atlanta Braves in a series that felt like a surefire NLCS preview. They didn’t live up to the moment, dropping two out of three, but this weekend presents an opportunity to pass a likely bigger test. The New York Yankees are rolling into town for a three-game set that I and many others feel is a World Series preview. 

I predicted a Dodgers-Yankees World Series in my MLB predictions roundtable in March. While acknowledging the potency of the Astros, Indians, Rays, and even the Twins, I’m sticking resolutely with that prediction. Yet this series is more than just a likely trial run for late October. The meeting does carry urgency in the present too, as the two clubs are currently battling for the best record in the game, and thus home field advantage in the World Series. 

With that in mind, let’s see how the Dodgers measure up against their likely Fall Classic adversaries this year. 

Starting Pitching Match-Ups

If there’s one area where the Dodgers are vastly superior to the men in pinstripes, it’s the starting rotation. The Dodgers rank #1 in MLB in sortable pitching according to ESPN, with an MLB-best 3.33 ERA and 13 shutouts. The Yankees, meanwhile, rank a middling #16 on the same list with a cumulative 4.52 ERA, with even their best starters’ individual marks around or above that number. 

Thus, pitching match-ups for this weekend favor L.A. on paper. Tonight’s game pits Hyun-Jin Ryu against another southpaw in James Paxton. Saturday will be one of polar opposites, in which rookie Tony Gonsolin will start against C.C. Sabathia, who’s on his farewell tour. The best pairing is fittingly saved for last, in which Clayton Kershaw will face off against Domingo German, who leads the majors with 16 wins. 

The one that likely favors the Yankees is the second game, as Gonsolin is a rookie about to be tested by perhaps the best offense in baseball. However, Ryu and Kershaw’s respective ERAs of 1.64 and 2.71 are a stark contrast to Paxton and German’s 4.53 and 4.15. 

Offense

Here’s where things are a lot more even, arguably more favoring the Yanks. New York’s lineup is one worthy of comparison to their many decades of punishing offenses known as “the Bronx Bombers.” Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela…there’s no true easy out. LeMahieu is currently battling Houston’s Michael Brantley for the best batting average in all of baseball. It’s no surprise ESPN ranks them #1 as a team in sortable batting, with the most RBI of all 30 teams. 

Granted, the Dodgers aren’t too far behind. They’re close to the Yanks in categories like home runs, RBI, OBP, and hits, and even lead them in doubles and triples. They sport their own deep lineup of Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Will Smith, Corey Seager, and Max Muncy, and a potent bench. No team in the National League can match up with the Yankees man for man like Los Angeles. But I’d give the slight edge at the plate to New York. 

Prediction 

Obviously, this series is going to boil down to how much Dodger pitching can contain the Yankees’ offensive onslaught. With two lefty All-Stars bookending things, I feel the first and third games will be the best chance to do that. The middle game feels like the opportune one for NYY as they face a largely untested (if highly capable) rookie. 

Especially after back-to-back WS losses to teams that could hammer the ball at will, it would be reassuring to see Dodger starters (and relievers) neutralize the 2019 iteration of Murderer’s Row this weekend. Should they meet again in October, it certainly won’t get any easier then. 

Written by Marshall Garvey

7 Comments

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  1. I have said this all season leading up to this series, it’s just another series in the schedule mainly because there is no guarantee of who will be in the WS, i think the Dodgers win the series taking 2 of 3.It is a good test for them to get the team and rookies ready for what will be a playoff atmosphere, especially for the ones that haven’t ever experienced it at the big league level.

  2. Stanton hasn’t played in months. Sanchez is hitting .234. The Dodgers are clearly superior at this point in the season in every category except, perhaps, the back of the bullpen..

  3. I don’t think the Yankees can even get to the World Series with that rotation and the Astros with their rotation could shutdown that offense therefore making that superior Yankee bullpen useless. We’re in for not only a third straight embarrassment but also a second one from those d.o.o.s.h.y Astros players who now have Greinke btw who’ll get the last laugh

  4. Even though Dodgers have some lefty hitters who can hit well enough against LHP, notice that in 2 of these games a LHP is going because of those % being played. And we know Joc will be sitting in 2 of these games. It’s unfortunate but that just means 25 HR’s sitting on the bench but it’s all on Joc for not being able to hit LHP really at all.

  5. This should be an insightful series. I agree that the Dodgers have the edge over the Yankees when it comes to our starting pitching, but I also think that our offense is comparable. As for bull pen performances…..I don’t know…….but we will see. Regardless, I believe we have more reason to be concerned about the Astros in a World Series match up. So, like many, I am considering this a preview of what I hope is to come. Go Dodgers!

  6. Did you intentionally leave out recognizing the complete dominance of the Yankee bullpen intentionally? I’m unable to grasp your reasons. There is a chasm between the two bullpens. The story is not merely can Dodger starters neutralize the Yankee lineup, but are LA hitters capable of success against NY relievers. You also failed to discuss defensive comparisons. The Dodgers lead all the national league in errors. They have been better as of late, and the fact that New York doesn’t know the territory would favor Los Angeles defensively. Particularly in Chavez ravine. there is also the fact that the Dodgers are creeping up on the 1975 Cincinnati reds for greatest home record in a single season ever. Every game will be sold out, with a number of New York Yankee fans clearly present. There are other factors beyond the ones you mentioned. I can see three true outcomes. Pardon the pun. The Yankees totally annihilate the Dodgers. The Dodgers beat up the Yankees starters early, then hold on late. Or the likely outcome, very close games with Aroldis Chapman figuring big. For the Dodgers, the terror of Kenley Jansen.

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