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Five players to watch in the Yankees Dodgers matchup

One of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in baseball is rekindled as the New York Yankees meet the Los Angeles Dodgers. We look at the five players to keep your eye on.

Aaron Judge has hit 18 home runs this season.

East Coast vs West Coast. Manhattan vs Brooklyn. They Yankees vs the Dodgers. One of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in all of baseball has seen, among other things, 11 dramatic World Series clashes over the years.

Fittingly, the two titans have a three game series starting on Lou Gehrig Day, for the next chapter in what has been referred to as their uncivil war.

The last time these teams met in the Fall Classic was 1981, but they are both early playoff contenders again this year, and each has an early opportunity to prove themselves against a superior team in just their 17th ever regular season series.

The Yankees and Dodgers have met 11 times in the World Series.
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The Yankees and Dodgers have met 11 times in the World Series.RONALD MARTINEZAFP

Over a third of the season has passed under the keel and the Dodgers are clinging for dear life to first place in the National League West. They are 4 and 6 over the last 10 games, allowing the Diamondbacks to gain a foothold at the top of the division with them. But it is a different story when they play at home: they have won 13 of their last 15 games in Dodger Stadium.

The Yankees struggled early in perhaps the strongest division in MLB, the AL East, where they are currently six games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. But on their trip out West, things are looking up as they brought back outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Josh Donaldson, adding more power to their offensive lineup. Pitcher Tommy Kahnle will also be activated for the series in Los Angeles. Plus, the Bronx Bombers have the third-best road record in the American League at 15-11.

For tonight in Chavez Ravine, the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound while the Dodgers will start their star lefty Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw (6-4, 3.32 ERA) will make his fifth career start against the Yankees. He doesn’t have a win against them, but he has a 1.67 ERA over 27 innings pitched. The southpaw allowed four earned runs in five innings pitched last Saturday against the Rays.

The Yankees will counter with right-hander Luis Severino (0-0, 1.59), who is making his third start of the season following a sideline injury. Severino faced the Dodgers just once in a two-inning scoreless relief outing in 2016. The right-hander’s last appearance was on Saturday, when he pitched 6. 2innings, allowing one earned run on one hit against the San Diego Padres.


Aaron Judge

Outfielder NY Yankees

Seemingly on the verge of playing permanently on the West Coast when the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants both tried to sign him in free agency, offering contracts of up to $400 million, Aaron Judge might be in Dodger Stadium but he will still be wearing pinstripes. The reigning American League MVP is in one of his hottest runs of the season.

Over the last 15 games he has a .377 batting average with 10 home runs and 18 RBIs. Since returning from back injury, Judge has been a true captain for the Yankees, getting a base hit 31 times in 47 games played (66.0 percent).

He has scored in 30 of 47 games this year, including multiple runs scored in nine of them.

Mookie Betts

Outfielder LA Dodgers

If there is one man who represents the style of play that suits Chavez Ravine, it is Mookie Betts. Possessing fine form with both bat and glove, Betts has become a fan favorite since joining from the Boston Red Sox. When at home, he has a .323 batting average with 16 RBIs and seven home runs, touching home plate at least once 34 times this season.

Betts has driven in at least one run in 38.9 percent of his games this season (21-of-54), including more than one run in seven of those games.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Utility NY Yankees

Although he had multiple problems during much of last season, Kiner-Falefa has done an about-face this season, becoming a versatile player who no longer makes as many mistakes as before.

Entering the final game of the series against the Mariners, Kiner-Falefa was hitting .382 with a 1.181 OPS, six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs in 11 games since May 16.

Max Muncy

LA Dodgers 3B

The Los Angeles Dodgers infielder has come as a pleasant surprise, hitting 17 home runs so far, the second most in the National League. Although trailing off somewhat in the last seven games with just two homers and six RBIs, Muncy still puts on quite a show every time he gets up to swing his bat.

Giancarlo Stanton

DH NY Yankees

Stanton is a native of the Los Angeles area who grew up watching games from the stands at Dodger Stadium. He was named the All-Star Game MVP at this stadium last season after hitting a home run in a 3-2 AL victory. Although he has missed much of the season with a hamstring injury, Stanton has three doubles, four home runs, and two walks while hitting .269. He has had a hit in 11 of 13 games this season, with multiple hits three times.


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