Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dodgers. Yankees. This should be fun

After the Dodgers disposed of the Reds in three straight to run their post-All-Star break record to 9-1, all of the attention shifts to their upcoming two-game tilt against the Yankees in Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers will send their big dogs of Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw to the mound.  The Yankees counter with Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. 

Simply put, if you're a fan of baseball, this is going to be a lot of fun.

The day-night doubleheader back in June at Yankee Stadium was also fun, mostly because the Dodgers were the last National League team to play there since the advent of Interleague play.  Which, by the way, begs the question of who in the world allowed that to happen?  Anyway, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez put on a show, allowing the Dodgers to get the split.

This time around, all of the big guns (save for C.C. Sabathia) will be on the mound.  The previous series saw the Dodgers start Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chris Capuano, while the Yankees had Kuroda and Phil Hughes.  I think it's safe to say we're all glad Greinke and Kershaw will be featured this time.  No disrespect to Ryu and Capuano, who have pitched very well recently, but the star power will be on display this time around.

We all know how awesome the Dodgers have been, and it really all started with that win in the night game in Yankee Stadium.  If you recall, Puig homered, stole a base, and scored three times; Ramirez had two hits and two RBIs.  The Dodgers dropped the next two in San Diego, but then ran off six straight wins and never looked back.  Overall, since that win over the Yankees, they've gone 27-8.  Wow.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are right in the thick of all sorts of drama involving the drama queen himself, Alex Rodriguez.  Can you imagine if ARod gets suspended during this series?  Actually, it could very well happen.  Then the media scrutiny will be cranked up that many more notches.

On the field, the Yankees are 55-50, good for fourth in the ultra-tough AL East.  Derek Jeter just returned, so it'll be good to see him on the field this time, as he missed the last series.  Plus they recently welcomed back Alfonso Soriano, and he responded with a walk-off single on Sunday.  So, despite the ARod nonsense, they appear to be on the upswing a bit, even if their record is still just so-so.

It's hard not to look at Wednesday's game as the main event.  Tuesday will be Greinke vs. Pettitte, and while that's a good matchup, Pettitte has been regressing as the season has progressed.  Wednesday will be Kershaw vs. old friend Kuroda, who certainly deserves a warm welcome in his return.  He still remains one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball, probably because he quietly goes about his business of posting one quality start after another.

The only downside to this series is what could have been on the injury front.  Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and yes, even ARod will be missed.  That's some serious power, so expect these games to be low-scoring with the great arms on the mound.

Even though the Yankees are no longer the mighty Yankees of years past, if the Dodgers sweep the two games, it will still be a great moment in a season that could see much greater moments in October.