The Dodgers are in desperate need of a victory against an AL opponent, with manager Joe Torre facing the Yankees in front of a national audience.
New York Yankees at Los Angeles Dodgers
New York pulled off a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers last night at Chavez Ravine, to start just the second all-time regular season series between the clubs. “It’s tough to compare it to the playoffs,” Yankees winning pitcher C.C. Sabathia said. “It was a great atmosphere to pitch in, us coming in here and Joe (Torre) on the other side.” 3B Alex Rodriguez provided the game-winning solo home run in the sixth inning and is not batting .410 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in his last 12 games in NL ballparks. The Bronx Bombers moved their record to 40-5 this season when holding their opponent to four-or-fewer runs (82-14 in 2009). The Yankees also enter today’s game second in the majors with 397 runs scored and fourth with a .277 team batting average.
Yankees SP A.J. Burnett is an even 6-6 with a 4.83 ERA in 15 starts this season (-220), but has posted a 10.35 ERA in four June starts. The right-hander had given up just four home runs in his first 11 outings, but opposing hitters have belted nine against him in his last 20 innings. The team’s No. 2 starter hasn’t lost five straight starts since the 2005 season. He owns a 15-9 record with a 3.47 ERA in 32 career interleague starts, including a 7-7 mark and 4.04 ERA in 15 starts against the NL since joining the AL in 2006. Burnett has made seven career starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 3-2 mark and 2.45 ERA (+130). His record is 1-2 in three starts at Dodger Stadium despite carrying a 2.55 ERA.
Los Angeles tried to instill a playoff-like atmosphere in the ballpark on Friday night, by bringing back members of the 1981 World Series winners. “It was intense, loud and felt like a playoff game,” first baseman James Loney mentioned. The Dodgers have now lost seven of their last eight games and find themselves four games out of first place. Manager Joe Torre is facing the Yankees for the first time since leading the pinstripers to four World Series titles, while hoping to turn around his ball club’s 3-10 interleague mark (-860). Los Angeles is just 4-14 in interleague play in its last 17 games against the American League, as the team is hitting just .245 over that span.
Dodgers SP Hiroki Kuroda is 6-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 14 starts this season (+330). The right-hander has a losing 1-2 mark in June despite possessing a 1.80 ERA in four starts. He has allowed just a single home run in 25 innings this month, after surrendering six in his first 73.1 innings in 2010. Kuroda was fantastic in his last start against Boston, allowing just two runs on six hits over seven innings. He threw a season-high 115 pitches in that outing, which may be a cause of concern. The Japanese-import will be making his first career appearance against the Yankees and has a less-than-desirable 1-6 record and 4.53 ERA in seven interleague starts.
Bettors that are looking to back the Yankees in this spot will look at the team’s 8-1 record on the road when the total is 8 to 8.5 (+700). The problem with this stat in today’s game rather than last night is Sabathia isn’t on the hill. Los Angeles has provided backers a profit against right-handed pitchers this year (30-23, +360), which might be enough for this handicapper to pull the trigger.