On Friday night, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB's two marquee franchises, open a three-game weekend series at Dodger Stadium. It will be the first time these two teams play each other since Aug. 23-25, 2019, also in Los Angeles. That was Players Weekend (remember Players Weekend?) and the Yankees won two of the three games.
The Dodgers and Yankees have followed similar scripts this year. Both started slowly and played .500 ball the first few weeks of the season. Over the last month or so, they've been two of the best teams in baseball. Here are baseball's best records in May:
- Texas Rangers: 18-9 (.667)
- New York Yankees: 19-10 (.655)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 18-10 (.643)
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 17-10 (.630)
- Houston Astros: 17-10 (.630)
Los Angeles enters this weekend's series in first place in the NL West at 34-23. The Yankees are 34-24, though they are stuck in third place in the extremely competitive AL East. Here are the details for this week's Dodgers vs. Yankees series at Dodger Stadium. Select games can be streamed on fuboTV (try for free).
|Date||Start time||Starting pitchers||TV|
Fri., June 2
10:10 p.m. ET
SportsNet LA, YES, MLBN
Sat., June 3
7:15 p.m. ET
Sun., June 4
7:10 p.m. ET
Missed a Cole vs. Kershaw game by one day. Rats. Grove has been out since April 20 with a groin strain and will be activated to start Saturday's game after making two Triple-A rehab starts. Germán allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners earlier this week, his first start back from his 10-game foreign substance suspension.
Here now are five things to know about this weekend's Dodgers vs. Yankees series with a prediction thrown in, because why not?
1. These two franchises have a long history
Dodgers vs. Yankees is the most common World Series matchup in baseball history, though the two teams have not met in the Fall Classic in more than four decades. Here is their World Series history, which features several iconic moments:
- 1941 World Series: Yankees win 4-1
- 1947 World Series: Yankees win 4-3
- 1949 World Series: Yankees win 4-1
- 1952 World Series: Yankees win 4-3
- 1953 World Series: Yankees win 4-1 (at 25, Vin Scully becomes youngest World Series broadcaster ever)
- 1955 World Series: Dodgers in 4-3 (Jackie Robinson steals home in Game 1)
- 1956 World Series: Yankees win 4-3 (Don Larsen throws a perfect game in Game 5)
- 1963 World Series: Dodgers win 4-0
- 1977 World Series: Yankees win 4-2 (Reggie Jackson hits three home runs in Game 6)
- 1978 World Series: Yankees win 4-2
- 1981 World Series: Dodgers in 4-2
As for interleague play, the all-time regular season series is tied at 8-8, and they've alternated wins and losses just about all the way back to their first ever interleague game on June 18, 2004. Two Yankees fan favorites started that game: Javier Vázquez vs. Jeff Weaver. If the alternating wins and losses trend continues, the Dodgers will win Friday night and take two of three this weekend.
This will be the fifth time the Yankees visit Dodger Stadium during interleague play (2004, 2010, 2013, 2019). The Dodgers never visited the old Yankee Stadium during interleague play, which is a shame. They've visited the new Yankee Stadium twice (2013, 2016). If that 2019 series is any indication, the crowd will be electric and split almost 50/50 this weekend. Should be a blast.
2. Neither team is at full strength
Not even close, really. The Yankees rank first in man-days lost to injury this season (731) and the Dodgers are third (614), and both clubs will be without several important players this series. Here are their most notable injuries:
|Notable Dodgers injuries||Notable Yankees injuries|
RHP Walker Buehler (Tommy John surgery)
CF Harrison Bader (strained hamstring)
RHP Michael Grove (groin strain)
3B Josh Donaldson (strained hamstring)
RHP Daniel Hudson (torn ACL)
RHP Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendinitis)
IF Gavin Lux (torn ACL)
RHP Jonathan Loáisiga (elbow bone spur)
RHP Dustin May (strained flexor pronator)
RHP Frankie Montas (shoulder surgery)
RHP Ryan Pepiot (strained oblique)
LHP Carlos Rodón (forearm strain, back tightness)
LHP Julio Urías (strained hamstring)
OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (strained hamstring)
As noted earlier, Grove will be activated off the injured list to make Saturday's start. The Yankees, meanwhile,. The team announced the roster moves during Thursday's off-day:
Today, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) June 1, 2023
•Returned from rehab and reinstated INF Josh Donaldson (#28) and OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (#27) from the 10-day injured list.
•Returned from rehab and reinstated RHP Tommy Kahnle (#41) from the 60-day injured list.…
The Yankees are also expected to get Anthony Rizzo back in the lineup Friday. and sat out the team's three-game series in Seattle earlier this week. Following Thursday's off-day, he's expected to be ready to go for the Dodgers series. New York's lineup figures to have a very different look Friday.
3. Freeman has a 20-game hitting streak
Like a soft pair of lazy day sweatpants, Freddie Freeman is getting better with age, and he takes a 20-game hitting streak into Friday's series opener with the Yankees. It is tied for the longest active hitting streak in baseball. Here are the longest hitting streaks in 2023:
- Freddie Freeman, Dodgers: 20 games and counting (since May 10)
- Marcus Semien, Rangers: 20 games and counting (since May 10)
- Mauricio Dubón, Astros: 20 games (April 4-26)
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Diamondbacks: 17 games (May 3-26)
- Bryson Stott, Phillies: 17 games (March 30 to April 18)
The 20-game hitting streak is not the longest of Freeman's career. He had a 30-game hitting streak in 2016, when he was still with the Atlanta Braves. This 20-gamer does tie the second longest hitting streak of Freeman's career, however. He did 20 games way back in 2011 as well. Freeman is slashing .346/.420/.588 this season. He is a hitting marvel.
4. Top prospects are struggling
Entering the season,. Both made the Opening Day roster and have been lineup mainstays since, though there have been some growing pains along the way, especially lately.
Here are Vargas and Volpe since the admittedly arbitrary date of May 6:
Vargas and Volpe have both flashed the ability to be impact players and difference-makers on contenders. They're not yet doing that consistently though, which is not uncommon for rookies. Even the most talented young players experience growing pains. That the Dodgers and Yankees have stuck with them shows their confidence in the duo. There's no panic in either organization.
Also, Vargas and Volpe aren't the only rookies having a hard time at the plate. Yankees super utility man Oswaldo Cabrera owns a .195/.246/.292 batting line and was just demoted back to Triple-A. Dodgers outfielder James Outman has hit .165/.261/.291 with a 37.0% strikeout rate in May after hitting .292/.376/.615 in April.
Regardless of their recent performance, Vargas and Volpe are two of the mostly well-regarded young players in the game (Cabrera and Outman to a lesser extent), and they will be on the same field this weekend. Both faced off at Dodger Stadium last year as well, during the Futures Game.
5. Who's hot, who's not
Baseball is a game of peaks and valleys and, inevitably, some players come into this weekend's series feeling better at the plate than others. In a week or two, things could be totally different. Such is life in this sport. Here are three Yankees players who have been red hot at the plate the last two weeks:
Judge has been out of this world good since returning from a minor hip injury on May 9. He's hit 12 home runs and reached base 46 times in 21 games since coming off the injured list. Judge almost certainly will not hit 62 home runs again, though his .298/.410/.679 batting line is awfully close to last season's .311/.425/.686 effort.
The Yankees have had a revolving door in left field all season and Kiner-Falefa, thanks to his recent hot streak, has gotten the majority of the starts out there lately. On the other side of the coin, the Yankees are waiting for Volpe (.133/.184/.289 the last two weeks and DJ LeMahieu (.167/.200/.250 the last two weeks) to get on track at the plate.
Here now are three Dodgers players who enter this weekend's series having swung the bat well the last two weeks:
The players who are supposed to carry the Dodgers are carrying the Dodgers. Freeman has gone nuclear during his hitting streak and Martinez, after a very sluggish start to the season, has slugged seven homers in his last 11 games. He basically stopped walking in the middle of last season, but Martinez can still do a lot of damage when he swings the bat.
Jason Heyward deserves a mention as well. He's run very hot and cold this year and is currently hot, having slashed .333/.448/.667 the last two weeks. As for cold streaks, Max Muncy (.174/.224/.413 the last two weeks) has had a rough go of it lately, ditto Outman (.097/.189/.097 the last two weeks). It's not often everyone is hot at the same time in his game. That's certainly true right now.
The Dodgers and Yankees are both playing very well right now and the cavalry is coming off the injured list to give the Yankees a boost this weekend. I'm going to say the Yankees win two of three. Kershaw, in his fifth career start against the Yankees, will best Severino in a pitchers' duel Friday, then the Yankees will rally to win Saturday and Sunday. It has been foretold.