Perennial World Series foes meet for only the second time in the regular season when the Yankees take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Although seeing the classic Yankee and Dodger uniforms on the field at the same time is always special, this time around, the series has taken on a heightened sense of importance, mostly because Joe Torre will be managing against the Yankees for the first time ever.
Joe Torre won’t actually be taking the field, so the Yankees real concern will be with a formidable lineup lead by the young Andre Ethier and the ageless Manny Ramirez. The Yankees and Manny need no introduction, but you can’t blame the Bronx Bombers if they aren’t looking forward to the reunion. In 200 career games against the Yankees, Manny has hit 55 home runs and 163 RBIs, his highest output against any team in both categories. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Ramirez has broken out of his early season doldrums. Over his last 10 games, the Dodgers have been treated to Manny being Manny as the free spirited left fielder has posted an OPS of 1.174 over that span.
As good as Manny has been of late, Ethier has emerged as the new leader of the Dodgers’ offense. After a torrid start, however, Ethier was slowed by a broken wrist and hasn’t really found another grove since his return. Ethier did go 5-13 in the Dodgers just completed Freeway Series against the Angels, so the Yankees have to hope that’s not the start of another hot streak. Along with Manny and Ethier, the Dodgers have also received solid contributions from James Loney, Matt Kemp, Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal, who just returned to the lineup after spending several days on the bereavement list while mourning the tragic death of his father.
Although the Dodger offense has rounded into form, their starting rotation has been a work in progress all season. In tonight’s game, Opening Day starter Vicente Padilla makes his second start since being activated from the disabled list. In his first start back, Padilla surrendered four runs in five-plus innings against Boston, so the Yankees will look to jump on the righty in the early going. A little bit of revenge might also be on the Yankees minds because the last time they faced Padilla, the cantankerous righty plunked Mark Teixeira twice and then seemed to be amused when AJ Burnett retaliated later in the ballgame. That incident precipitated Padilla’s eventual release by the Rangers.
On the mound for the Yankees will be CC Sabathia, who looks to build on the eight shutout innings he threw against the Mets on Sunday. Sabathia also gives the Yankees another capable hitter in their lineup, which features both Arod and Posada in the field together for only the fourth time this month. Another new wrinkle has Curtis Granderson bumped up to second slot, a shift prompted by the desire to split the lefties at the bottom of the lineup because of the presence of George Sherrill and Hong-Chih Kuo in the Dodgers’ bullpen.
After playing an incredibly sloppy game in the series finale against the Diamondbacks, the Yankees need to push aside the distractions of facing the Torre-led Dodgers and jump on what has been a struggling team. In addition to trying to remove the strong backend of the Dodger bullpen from the equation, an early lead could also help neutralize the crowd, which is likely to be pumped up beyond levels normally associated with southern California. The Dodgers have been marketing this series as the renewal of an old rivalry, but the Yankees can’t get caught up in the hype. So, as odd as it may be for some of the players to look across and see Torre in the opposing dugout, their focus must remain on the task at hand…winning series and building a lead in the AL East.
|vs. Vicente Padilla||PA||BA||OBP||SLG||HR||RBI|
|Derek Jeter SS||12||0.400||0.500||0.400||0||1|
|Curtis Granderson CF||12||0.250||0.500||0.375||0||1|
|Mark Teixeira 1B||14||0.250||0.500||1.000||2||4|
|Alex Rodriguez 3B||13||0.167||0.231||0.417||1||8|
|Robinson Cano 2B||11||0.364||0.364||0.636||1||2|
|Jorge Posada C||5||0.333||0.600||0.333||0||1|
|Nick Swisher RF||19||0.067||0.263||0.267||1||3|
|Brett Gardner LF||2||1.000||1.000||1.000||0||1|
|CC Sabathia LHP||4||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|vs. CC Sabathia||PA||BA||OBP||SLG||HR||RBI|
|Rafael Furcal SS||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Russell Martin C||3||0.333||0.333||0.333||0||0|
|Andre Ethier RF||1||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Manny Ramirez LF||23||0.571||0.609||1.286||4||7|
|Matt Kemp CF||3||0.333||0.333||1.333||1||1|
|James Loney 1B||3||0.333||0.333||0.333||0||0|
|Casey Blake 3B||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Jamey Carroll 2B||3||0.500||0.667||0.500||0||1|
|Vicente Padilla RHP||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Yankees vs. Dodgers|
|Season: 2010||Season: 2009||Season: 2008||All-Time|
|World Series History (Yankees lead 8 to 3)|
|1941||Yankees 4 games to 1 over Dodgers|
|1947||Yankees 4 games to 3 over Dodgers|
|1949||Yankees 4 games to 1 over Dodgers|
|1952||Yankees 4 games to 3 over Dodgers|
|1953||Yankees 4 games to 2 over Dodgers|
|1955||Dodgers 4 games to 3 over Yankees|
|1956||Yankees 4 games to 3 over Dodgers|
|1963||Dodgers 4 games to 0 over Yankees|
|1977||Yankees 4 games to 2 over Dodgers|
|1978||Yankees 4 games to 2 over Dodgers|
|1981||Dodgers 4 games to 2 over Yankees|