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A pair of heavyweights collide on Friday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the New York Yankees in the first of a three-game series. While this isn’t a matchup of division leaders, both clubs are bonafide World Series contenders. They also have a lot of history together dating back to the Dodgers’ time in Brooklyn. That should make for an interesting series that begins on Friday night at Dodger Stadium, especially with both teams entering the series with the same number of wins on the season.
Of course, while the Dodgers have the most wins in the National League, they are fighting off the Diamondbacks for the top spot in the NL West. Los Angeles had a rather uneven finish to the month of May, going 7-8 over the team’s last 15 games. The good news is that the Dodgers have the second-best home record in the majors at 19-8. They are also an MLB-best 16-6 following a loss this year, which bodes well for Los Angeles following a loss against the Nationals on Wednesday.
As for the Yankees, matching the Dodgers’ 34 wins on the season is only good enough for third place in the AL East. They head into the weekend six games behind the Rays despite a strong finish in May. The Bronx Bombers are 11-5 over their last 16 games with two separate winning streaks of at least four games during that stretch. Much like the Dodgers, the Yankees lost on Wednesday but have excelled in bouncing back quickly, going 15-8 after a loss while also boasting a winning record on the road at 15-11.
Naturally, the betting odds are tight for this game with DraftKings making Los Angeles a slight home favorite at -130 compared to New York’s moneyline of +110. The over/under is listed at 8.5 runs.
The Yankees will look to Luis Severino to give them a lift and get them back on track in Friday’s game. This will be Severino’s third start of the season but he’s looked sharp in the first two. Over those two starts, Severino has covered 11.1 innings, conceding just two earned runs on five hits while striking out 10 against four walks. Despite not getting the decision in either game, both of Severino’s starts were wins for the Yankees. But while the Yankees are excited about what they’ve seen from Severino thus far, there are no guarantees that he’ll be able to keep it going after missing the first part of the season with an injury.
After getting it done against the Reds and Padres in his first two starts, facing the Los Angeles lineup will be a much bigger challenge for Severino. He’ll have to deal with a red-hot Freddie Freeman, who’s batting .520 with an OPS of 1.426 over his last six games. In those same six games, the trio of Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, and J.D. Martinez has combined for seven home runs. Martinez is also 8 for 20 (.400) in his career against Severino while table setter Mookie Betts is 9 for 32 (.281) all-time against Severino. The Dodgers are actually averaging 7.4 runs per game over their last five games, so they’ve been tough for anybody to stop lately.
In addition to a potent offense, the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw taking the field on Friday. On the season, Kershaw is 6-4 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.14 ERA. However, after looking like his old self in April, Kershaw started to show his age in May, posting a 5.55 ERA over his last five starts. Kershaw has allowed at least four runs in three of his last five starts, earning the win in just one of those five starts. To be fair, Kershaw keeps striking out hitters at a high rate. However, he gave up just four hits per start in April, only to allow 6.2 hits per start in May, so he’s not trending in the right direction.
On Friday, Kershaw will face a lineup that’s been erratic lately. The Yankees recently scored 10 runs in three straight games. However, they’ve also been held to one run or less in three of their last seven games after getting shut out in Wednesday’s loss to the Mariners. On the bright side, Aaron Judge has four homers in his last six games with Willie Calhoun providing a recent spark for the Yankees. Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Giancarlo Stanton also have excellent track records against Kershaw with Rizzo going 10 for 31 (.323) with six extra-base hits. Nevertheless, the Dodgers have been the more consistent offensive team lately, and given their success at home this season, they are poised to take the series opener on Friday.
At their best, the Yankees and Dodgers are both offensive juggernauts, so 8.5 runs as the over/under might be a little too modest. Both teams have proven in recent days that they’re more than capable of putting up crooked numbers. Obviously, either offense can be canceled out by excellent pitching. But with Kershaw looking hittable lately and the jury out on Severino despite two promising starts, this looks like a game that hitters could dominate, making over 8.5 runs a good bet.
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Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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