June 25, 2010

Yankees-Dodgers series preview

The Yankees are back in the spotlight this weekend, as two storied franchises square off for the first time in six years. First, a bit of history:

- The Yankees and Dodgers met in the World Series six times between 1947 and 1963. The Yankees won the first five meetings, but the ‘63 Dodgers, from L.A., swept New York.

- The Yankees got their revenge in 1977 and 1978 with World Series victories over the Dodgers, but the Dodgers had the last laugh with a 4-2 World Series win over the Yanks in 1981.

As much history as there is between the two teams, the focus is on one man. The man who the media tabbed as “Clueless Joe” when the Yankees hired him in November, 1995. That same “clueless” man went on to bring the Yankees four rings in five years and 12 straight postseason berths.

That man is Joe Torre, the new head of the Dodgers. He said:

“The odd thing for me is that I’m going to be over there in that dugout pulling against people I’ve never pulled against before.”

The Yankees core four showed very strong appreciation for their ex-manager.

“He’s been like a father figure to me,” Derek Jeter said. “It’s just out of respect.”

Jorge Posada reiterated Jeter’s statement, Mariano Rivera called him a “mentor” and Andy Pettitte raved how he supported him through the good times and the bad.

But you won’t see the players show those emotions on the field this weekend. And Torre won’t either, like always.

Also, don’t forget about Don Mattingly! He left the Yankees with Torre to be the Dodgers hitting coach.

Head to Head
These two old rivals haven’t faced each other since 2004 when the Dodgers took two of three at Dodger Stadium.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Dodgers starters
Fri., 10:10 p.m. CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.68) V. Padilla (1-1, 6.67)
Sat., 7:10 p.m. A.J. Burnett (6-6, 4.83) Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 3.06)
Sun., 8:00 p.m. Andy Pettitte (9-2, 2.48) C. Kerhsaw (7-4, 3.24)

Players to Watch:
Yankees: Brett Gardner
. He’s hitting .396/.476/.566 in June. That’s bad news for opposing pitchers catchers.

Dodgers: Andre Ethier. He isn’t as hot as he was in April, but he may be back on track after a good series against the Angels earlier this week.

This should be a good series, culminating with the ESPN Sunday Night game. But the Dodgers are slumping lately, and the Yankees aren’t. I’ll give a 2-1 edge to the Yanks.

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