The Dodgers enter Yankee Stadium for a two-game set with the Yanks. The storylines with this mini-series are endless. The 1950’s World Series battles when both clubs were in New York, Don Mattingly returning to the Bronx and a kid named Yasiel Puig. Here is a series preview:
The Yankees come off a terrible series loss to the Angels in Anaheim and the offense for the time being has disappeared. The Dodgers, like the Angels, have been disappointing in 2013 with a huge payroll and come off a series loss in Pittsburgh.
Player to watch: Yasiel Puig. The Cuban defector and outfielder has taken baseball by storm. In just 13 games, Puig has a .479 batting average, 10 RBI and 4 HR. He slugs at .771. Puig will look to hammer Yankee pitching under the bright New York lights. This is a big series early in Puig’s career and one he will likely remember forever.
Key to the series: Phil Hughes. Hughes has to keep the ball in the park and somewhat set the tone for this short series. The enigmatic righthander gives up a lot of home runs in the Bronx so expect the Dodgers to swing early and often.
Welcome back Donnie Baseball! Don Mattingly returns to the Bronx where he played for the Yanks for 14 season, winning the 1985 American League MVP and appearing in the playoffs just once (1995). Mattingly lost out to Joe Girardi to become the Yankee manager after Joe Torre, so you know he wants these games bad. You could make the argument that Mattingly is the most beloved Yank of all-time.
History at its best. The Yankees and Dodgers have a storied history and old time rivalry. The two clubs met seven times in the World Series when both clubs played in New York, with the Yanks winning in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953 and 1956 (Don Larsen’s perfect game series). Brooklyn won in 1955 behind Johnny Padres’ two wins in Games 3 (complete game, seven-hit shutout) and 7 (complete game 2-0 shutout) after the “Bums” dropped the first two to the Yankees. After the Dodgers moved West, the clubs met again in the Fall Classic four times, with New York winning in 1977 and 1978 during the Bronx Zoo days and LA winning in 1963 and later coming back and winning it all in 1981 after the Yanks blew a 2-0 lead.
Prediction: Series split. The Yankees aren’t playing well enough to take both games and don’t have the pitching edge in game one. The Dodgers are still a little banged up and are an underachieving ball club that finds ways to lose, so they aren’t good enough to win both either.
By: Mike Lindsley, “Mid-Day with Mike,” 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/MikeLSports.