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Following a dramatic victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday in eleven innings on a Yasiel Puig homer, the Dodgers return to action on Tuesday with two home games against the New York Yankees. Following the Yankees series, the club will embark on an eight-game road trip to the Midwest to play the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Yankees will enter the game fresh off an extra-inning win themselves over the Tampa Bay Rays sparked by newcomer Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees visit to town on Tuesday marks the beginning of a long road trip out on the West Coast as the team has a one week, three city, eight-game road swing the Yankees will hope that the win on Sunday is a sign of good things to come as the team has struggled after the All-Star Break, currently sporting a 4-6 record in ten games since the break. With heated rival and division foe Boston also winning on Sunday, the Yankees remain 7.5 games back in the A.L. East. Meanwhile
The Tuesday matchup with the Yankees will mark the third time these two teams have played each other this season. In June the Dodgers visited Yankee Stadium for the first time since the 1981 World Series and despite the first game being rained out, the teams managed to play a doubleheader the next day and split the twin bill. Of course this Yankee team is not the same one as it was a month ago as captain Derek Jeter has returned from injury, and a trade for former Cubs’ outfielder Alfonso Soriano presents a much more formidable opponent to face the Dodgers. Prior to joining the team, Soriano had hit more home runs in the month of July than the entire Yankees’ roster. The Yankees’ woes at the plate have presented some problems for the second half squad, but even more so the schedule has been brutal. With trips already made to Boston and Texas before returning home to face the aforementioned Rays, the Yankees have faced three consecutive potential playoff teams. The Dodgers will offer no reprieve as they currently sit atop the N.L. West with a 55-48 record.
Unlike the Yankees, the second half has proven quite friendly to the Dodgers who unleashed a torrid six-game win streak immediately after the break and have won eight of nine games overall. The team entered the break with a meager 48-47 record but their bats have emerged to start the second half. In a three-game series in Toronto, the Dodgers scored 32 runs on an astonishing 45 hits. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has paced the offense and the team leader in batting average (.302), home runs (15), RBIs (65), OBP (.356), and hits (114). Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Matt Kemp is back on the DL for the third time this season after injuring his ankle following a slide into home plate last week. While he has cooled down slightly, rookie Puig has continued to bat with some success and is hitting .372 with ten home runs and 23 RBIs.
Tuesday’s game will likely feature a matchup between lefty Andy Pettitte and right-handed Zack Greinke. Pettitte enters the game with a 7-8 record and a 4.39 ERA while Greinke sports an impressive 8-3 record with a 3.49 ERA. The Dodgers are performing substantially better against right-handed pitchers this year with a 38-30 record than against left-handed pitchers, 17-18. The Dodgers have been more aggressive on first pitches and the lineup appears to be more comfortably suited for righties. The Yankees on the other hand have done better against lefties than righties, indicating that both teams are going to have to adapt to the style of Pettitte and Greinke, two of the best pitchers in the game.
Game two on Wednesday pits righty Hiroki Kuroda from the Yankees up against Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. The Yankees will face a tough task cracking Kershaw, who has been on a tear this season with a 10-6 record and a slim 1.96 ERA. Kershaw’s strength lies in his low home run rate and his ability to strike people out on a consistent basis. Perhaps some of Kershaw’s great season is due to his meager .233 BABIP, which rests well below his career average of 2.69, but there is no doubt that Kershaw has shown great command of his pitches so far this year.
Kuroda has already faced the Dodgers once this year, as he was the winning pitcher in the first matchup of the season. Kuroda gave up two runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings in his on June 19th. Kuroda has an identical to Kershaw with a 10-6 record but has been responsible for more runs but still has a respectable 2.51 ERA.
Tickets remain available for both games. While Los Angeles Dodgers tickets so far this season have gone for an average of $65 in Dodgers’ home games, the Yankees coming to town is commanding an impressive $145 series average. For Tuesday’s opener tickets are going for an average of $150, while some tickets are selling as low as $32. For the series and season finale on Wednesday, tickets are going for an average of $141 with a get-in price of $29. The increase in price might best be explained by the Yankees’ road average for tickets, which has been around a relatively expensive $123. This is the most expensive series in Los Angeles over the past three seasons.