All-powerful Yankees face a litmus test against Dodgers’ star power

Yankees vs. Dodgers June 7-9, 2024.

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When the weekend series between the Yankees and Dodgers was announced, it looked like a potential World Series preview in the Bronx.

The Yankees had acquired Juan Soto in the offseason, while the Dodgers made even bolder moves. They outbid New York and the Mets for Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, signed Shohei Ohtani away from the Angels, and traded with Tampa Bay for Tyler Glasnow.

Despite leading the NL West as the only team above .500 in the division, the Dodgers have yet to perform as the powerhouse many anticipated after their winter acquisitions.

The Yankees, on the other hand, entered their series finale against Minnesota riding a seven-game winning streak. The duo of Soto and Aaron Judge has exceeded expectations.

They’ve achieved this success without reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole, who is expected to make his season debut later this month after recovering from an elbow injury sustained in spring training.

The upcoming series against the star-studded Dodgers will be a significant test for a Yankees team that has recently faced weaker opponents. Observers note that New York hasn’t played a series against a team with a winning record since splitting four games with Seattle from May 20-23.

Starting with the Dodgers, the Yankees are set to face five consecutive opponents that were at .500 or better as of Thursday, including matchups against Kansas City, Boston, Baltimore, and Atlanta.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, have struggled recently, enduring a five-game losing streak and dropping the first two games at Pittsburgh before heading to New York.

With Los Angeles loaded with talent, New York has an opportunity to make a strong early statement against one of the preseason favorites in this potential playoff preview.

Shohei Ohtani, restricted to designated hitter duties this season following Tommy John surgery last September, maintains an impressive .989 OPS, trailing only Aaron Judge and Juan Soto. Recently, however, Ohtani has hit a slump, managing just four extra-base hits in his last 15 games.

Mookie Betts is also having a strong season but has experienced a downturn, recording a .678 OPS over his last 29 games.

Yamamoto, after turning down the Yankees’ 10-year, $300 million offer, signed a 12-year, $325 million contract with the Dodgers. Yankees manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that they felt competitive in the pursuit of Yamamoto, stating that there was always uncertainty about landing him.

Gerrit Cole mentioned he was optimistic about signing Yamamoto but had heard that the 25-year-old pitcher preferred another destination, so he was not shocked by Yamamoto’s decision.

Yamamoto, who holds the record for the richest contract ever for a starting pitcher, surpassing Cole’s by $1 million, has posted a solid 3.32 ERA through 12 starts. However, his recent performance has dipped, with a 4.30 ERA over his last four outings.

With the additions of Yamamoto and Ohtani to the Dodgers, combined with the Yankees’ hot streak, Boone expects an electric atmosphere when the teams meet. He noted that both clubs are filled with star talent, which should create a remarkable environment at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees vs. Dodgers

Yankees' Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Alex-Verdugo celebrate after win over the Twins on June 6, 2024.
  • The NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (38-25) will travel to face the AL East front-runners, the New York Yankees (44-19), in a highly anticipated three-game series starting Friday at 7:05 PM ET.
  • The series, concluding on Sunday, promises exciting matchups and significant implications for both teams. For detailed coverage and updates throughout the series, readers should stay tuned.
  • Friday’s opener at 7:05 PM ET will feature Cody Poteet pitching for the Yankees against the Dodgers’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto. This game will be broadcast on SportsNet LA and available for streaming on Fubo.
  • On Saturday, at 7:35 PM ET, Nestor Cortes Jr. will take the mound for New York, facing Gavin Stone of Los Angeles. This game will air on FOX and can be streamed via Fubo.
  • The series finale on Sunday at 7:10 PM ET will see Luis Gil of the Yankees against the Dodgers’ Tyler Glasnow, televised nationally on ESPN and streamable on Fubo.

Ohtani’s brilliance vs. Yankee power show

For the Yankees, Juan Soto leads the offense with 76 hits, including 11 doubles, three triples, 17 homers, 44 walks, 53 RBIs, and four stolen bases. Aaron Judge has contributed with 66 hits, 19 doubles, a triple, 21 homers, 50 walks, 54 RBIs, and four stolen bases.

Anthony Volpe has recorded 73 hits, including 10 doubles, six triples, six homers, 23 walks, 25 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases. Alex Verdugo is batting .296 with 55 hits, 12 doubles, a triple, eight homers, 21 walks, and 34 RBIs.

The Dodgers counter with Mookie Betts, who has 78 hits, 14 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 42 walks, 35 RBIs, and nine stolen bases. Shohei Ohtani boasts 78 hits, including 17 doubles, two triples, 15 homers, 27 walks, 40 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases.

Freddie Freeman has compiled 69 hits, 17 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 36 walks, 38 RBIs, and three stolen bases. Will Smith is hitting .319 with 60 hits, 16 doubles, nine homers, 20 walks, and 38 RBIs.

Yankees’ ERA vs. Dodgers’ strikeouts

The Yankees’ pitching staff is currently ranked sixth in the majors, averaging 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. They lead the league with a stellar team ERA of 2.79 and hold the second-lowest WHIP at 1.106. Additionally, New York’s pitchers have allowed only 58 home runs, placing them eighth in the league with an average of 0.9 per game.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ pitching staff ranks 14th in strikeouts per nine innings, with an average of 8.6. Their combined ERA stands at 3.28, the third-best in the majors, and their WHIP of 1.122 is the fourth-lowest in MLB. 

The Dodgers have given up 63 home runs, ranking 13th in home run prevention. While their pitching has been solid, it slightly trails the Yankees’ impressive statistics in most categories as these two division leaders prepare to face off in a highly anticipated series.

Yankees vs Dodgers: Renewed rivalry

The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to face the New York Yankees in a highly anticipated interleague series at Yankee Stadium, their first meeting at the venue since 2016.

Entering Thursday, the Yankees boast the best record in baseball at 44-19, along with a league-leading +115 run differential, and have won seven consecutive games. The Dodgers, while holding the fifth-best record, have struggled recently, posting a 12-12 record over the past four weeks and averaging 3.71 runs per game.

A billboard drawing on Juan Soto joining the Yankees and the Dodgers presenting big signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani.

Los Angeles will counter with their top three starting pitchers. Yoshinobu Yamamoto will start the series opener on Friday night, followed by Gavin Stone on Saturday, and Tyler Glasnow, making his season debut on four days’ rest, in Sunday’s finale.

This series has garnered national attention, with broadcast details important for fans. Apple TV+ holds exclusive rights to Friday’s game, while Fox will exclusively air Saturday’s matchup. The series concludes with ESPN’s national broadcast on Sunday. However, both teams will also provide regional coverage for Friday’s game.

The Dodgers’ broadcast team, Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser, will call Friday’s game on SportsNet LA, their sole local assignment of the weekend. Davis will also handle the national Fox broadcast on Saturday.

In interleague play, the Dodgers hold a slight 9-10 edge over the Yankees, including a 3-2 record in New York. Their last two series took place at Dodger Stadium in 2019 and 2023, with the Yankees winning two out of three games in both instances.

The rivalry between these storied franchises dates back to 2004 in interleague play, but they famously met 11 times in the World Series before that, the most frequent matchup in Fall Classic history. The Dodgers often found themselves on the losing end, with eight losses out of those 11 meetings. However, they claimed their first title over the Yankees in 1955 while still in Brooklyn and won subsequent World Series against New York in 1963 and 1981, after relocating to Los Angeles, while losing in 1977 and 1978.

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