Yankees @ Dodgers August 23, 2019: Clash of the Titans in World Series preview

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

There’s nothing like Dodgers-Yankees baseball. Two of the most storied franchises — a rivalry sparked long ago in NY — are both big baseball juggernauts this season. The Dodgers (85-44) host the Yankees (83-46) for a three-game interleague series starting Friday night in what could be a preview of the Fall Classic.

Yankees
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
1B
LeMahieu
CF
Pollock
RF
Judge
3B
Turner
2B
Torres
C
Smith
C
Sanchez
RF
Bellinger
SS
Gregorius
1B
Muncy
3B
Urshela
LF
Taylor
CF
Gardner SS Seager
LF
Maybin
2B
Hernandez
P
Paxton (L)
P
Ryu (L)

The Dodgers are coming off a sweep of the Blue Jays, but the Yankees come into the series having lost four straight. The Yanks were just swept by the A’s in Oakland. Despite the small skid this week, the Yankees still have a firm hold on the AL East with an eight-game lead over the Rays.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, have the best record in the majors and have run away with the NL West. They have a shot of reaching 60 wins at home this season (51-16).

Should the Dodgers and Yankees end matching up in the World Series this year, it would be the 12th time the two clubs have met in the World Series and first time since 1981. The Dodgers lead the regular season series 7-6, but the Yankees have won eight of the 11 World Series match-ups between the two teams. The Dodgers defeated the Yankees in 1955, 1963 and 1981. The Yankees have not been back to the World Series since they won their 27th championship title in 2009.

The long-time rivals are eerily similar this year, at least offensively. They’re within a point of each other in team on-base percentage (.344 /.343) and are similarly matched in slugging (.831/.820) and OPS (.831/.820). A slight edge goes to the Yankees when looking at those specific numbers.

The Bronx Bombers have hit seven more home runs than the Dodgers this season, which is incredible considering what a show the Dodgers’ bats have been putting on. Yankees fans have their own dong parade going on, East Coast style. New York’s home run leader is 22-year old shortstop Gleyber Torres who has hit 31 homers. Gary Sanchez has hit 28. CA native Aaron Judge is always a threat, but he’s only hitting .227 with two home runs in August (75 AB).

This is a much better Yankees team than the last one the Dodgers faced in the 2016 regular season, but I would say the edge would go to the Dodgers this series. They have the best home record in baseball and arguably the better team all-around with much better pitching. The Yankees have suffered a ton of injuries this season, and the Dodgers are starting to get healthy. Enrique Hernandez, the latest walk-off hero, and Chris Taylor returned to the team after stints on the injured list. The Yankees may have a slightly more productive offense (5.88 runs per game) to the Dodgers (5.55 runs per game), but the Dodgers have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors (3.32 ERA). The Yankees’ team ERA is 4.53, 16th in MLB.

The Dodgers (2.94 ERA) have the best rotation in baseball. It’s not that bold of a statement when you have three All-Stars including Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler as well as ace Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-3). The Cy Young candidate has a 1.64 ERA and 0.944 WHIP, lowest in the majors.

Ryu lost to the Yankees in his only start against them in 2016, but this time he’ll face them at home. Ryu’s dominance at home (9-0, 0.81 ERA, 0.798) has been a big reason why the team has been so good at Dodger Stadium. He’s only allowed three home runs at Chavez Ravine this year, none to left-handed batters.

The Yankee starters are averaging 1.94 HR/9, second-most in baseball. That’s prime bait for the Dodgers’ lineup. The Dodgers have hit 117 home runs at home. Similarly the Yankees slug at home too (118 home runs). Left-hander James Paxton (9-6, 4.53 ERA, 4.32 FIP) has made one career start against the Dodgers back in 2015 when he pitched for the Mariners. Paxton has allowed 21 home runs in 113.1 IP (1.7 HR/9). That’s a career-high, but he’s also striking guys out (11.2 K/9).

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It’s also Players’ Weekend, so the uniforms will be far from classic.

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I’d rather they not have to walk-off every game. It would be nice if the bullpen pulled it together and stopped blowing saves. The only thing that terrifies me more than Yankee bombs against Dodger relievers in August is Yankee bombs against Dodger relievers in October.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.