Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The Big Apple is BUZZING this week with the renewal of an ancient baseball rivalry. The Los Angeles Dodgers (formerly of Brooklyn) are visiting the New York Yankees in a matchup that’s made headlines through multiple decades. It was supposed to begin Tuesday, but a rainout created a very special day-night doubleheader Wednesday with the night game set for national television on ESPN.
It’s not quite what the power brokers (and the TV networks!) were hoping for when the season began. This had the potential to be a classic, with the Los Angeles Dodgers projected to be a World Series contender in the National League…and the Yankees hoping to have their star players healthy by mi-June. Instead, the Dodgers have been a colossal flop so far (though there’s still time to get hot and get back in at least the Wildcard picture), while the Yankees treaded water as best they could while their injury situation worsened rather than getting better.
*LA enters the series 10 games below .500, unable to even post a winning record on their home field. Through Monday they had the third worst run differential in the National League, leading only the truly awful Marlins and Mets squads. Teams can get hot in the last few months of the season…particularly high payroll teams stocked with talent. 2013 isn’t over yet…but the margin for error is extremely thin at the moment. ESPN’s standings page says the Dodgers are about 98% to miss the playoffs.
*NYY entered the series 7 games over .500, but odds were still about 2-1 against making the playoffs because they’re in such a tough division...and only have the raw stats of a .500 caliber team (+4 run differential at the close of their West Coast trip). The odds may not realize that the cavalry could be riding in soon in the form of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and a few other healthy veterans. Though…the cavalry better not take it’s sweet time because the Red Sox, Rays, and Orioles aren’t in a generous mood.
The drama of 2013 falls by the wayside Wednesday…overwhelmed by the drama of the Dodgers and the Yankees playing two games in one day in New York. The echoes…the shadows…the ghosts of what baseball used to be will loom large through this major event. No reason to visit a cornfield in Iowa …those spirits will be watching this doubleheader with the rest of us.
Let’s look at today’s pitchers...
FOR THE DODGERS
Chris Capuano: 1-4, 5.45 ERA, 1.52 WHIP
Hyun-Jin Ryu: 6-2, 2.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Capuano missed a few weeks with a triceps injury. He obviously wasn’t pitching very well before the injury. Plus, one good start against horrible Miami helped keep the numbers lower than they would have been otherwise. He did look pretty sharp in his rehab outings though, giving the Dodgers hope that he’ll be in much better form now that he’s ready to return to the rotation.
Ryu is having a great start to the season, thanks partly to his home park…and partly to having a “first look” advantage over the league. The Yankees obviously haven’t seen him yet because he’s in the other league. If you’re looking to take as hot on the visitor in this twinbill, Ryu is obviously the more lethal of the two Dodger arms at the moment.
FOR THE YANKEES
Hiroki Kuroda: 6-5, 2.78 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Phil Hughes: 3-5, 4.89 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
Kuroda has the stats of a Cy Young candidate (particularly having to face so many AL East offenses), but the won-lost record of a journeyman because he’s not getting run support at the right times. He’s also been stronger at home than on the road as a Yankee, which bodes well for another strong outing this evening. Can the Yanks score for him? You’d think so against Capuano…but remember that this is far from a vintage Yankees unit. It’s a rag-tag offense that’s struggled to score consistently in recent weeks.
Hughes has been inconsistent (as usual). There are days where it looks like he might have a long career in this rotation…then others where he looks outmatched by American League hitters. Perhaps he’d star in the lesser National League…which is something to keep in mind as you evaluate his chances in the Wednesday spotlight.
JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his New York sources to find you some value plays in these games. NETWORK is also looking at Tampa Bay at Boston (Hellickson vs. Dempster), Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (Locke vs. Arroyo), Oakland at Texas (Milone vs. Grimm), and a few situational spots for serious play.
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