Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Yankees-Dodgers Series Brings To Light Overlooked MLB Change


Yankee Stadium’s famous facade on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees played the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, in a series that brought a rollicking atmosphere to Dodger Stadium.

In a series between two of baseball’s best, the Yankees took two out of three games to improve to 36-25. 

Los Angeles won the opener Friday night, 8-4, after they touched up Yankee starter Luis Severino for six runs in the first inning. The Yankees did make some noise, as Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson, who had just been active off the injured list, both hit solo home runs to deep left field off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw to get them back in the game.

The Yankees got a tremendous outing from their ace, Gerrit Cole, on their way to a 5-3 win. He improved to 7-0 with a 2.82 ERA (earned run average), as he went seven innings, and allowed just one run (earned) on four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts.

The Yankees’ offense was powered by a as pair of two-run home runs from outfielder Jake Bauers, and Oswaldo Cabrera hit a solo shot in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom half of the eighth, there was an incredible catch by Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge in the eighth inning, as J.D. Martinez blasted one to deep right, and Judge crashed through the Yankee bullpen fence. 

It was not without consequence, as Judge injured his big toe, missed Sunday’s game, had tests on Monday and will be out of the Yankees lineup on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox as well.

On Sunday night, the Yankees won, 4-1, as Domingo German had a nice outing and they pushed across a couple of runs before Anthony Volpe put the game away with a two-run home run in the ninth inning.

German went 6 2/3, as he allowed one run (a home run by Martinez in the seventh) on four hits and a walk, with six strikeouts.

Clay Holmes earned the win, as he pitched a scoreless inning (he got the final out of the seventh & two in the eighth), as he didn’t allow a hit, just one walk, and struck out two to improve his record to 4-2 on the season.

That series brought to light the new balanced schedule Major League Baseball implemented this season, in which every team plays each other at least once regardless of league. This got far less attention than other new innovations like the pitch clock and limiting how many times pitchers can throw over to first base, which has increased stolen bases. 

In addition to these games in L.A., the Yankees’ other National League opponents include the start of the season with San Francisco and Philadelphia at Yankee Stadium, and when they played the Reds in Cincinnati a couple weeks ago, which meant a lot to Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, who played the majority of his career there. 

Boone was asked in his pregame press conference on Tuesday afternoon if, after seeing these games, people can see the benefits of this new change, “Yeah, I don’t know, I think you can probably get answers across the board. You know, I’ve heard people that, you know, love the rare nature of playing the other league, or, you know, that was our first time in L.A. since, when were we there, ‘19 (a series remembered for the app-black uniforms the Yankees wore, and all-white for L.A.), and sometimes that, you know, I think creates a little bit more buzz when you play them so infrequently. 

“Now, obviously, you’re going to be playing them every year, does that spoil it a little bit? I’m sure it does for some people, but I think, you know, I think it’s probably the right way to go, you know, as long as it can survive schedule-wise, especially with weather. In certain years and certain places, could make for some challenging times, but I think, at the very least, with more playoff teams in the mix now, I think it is important to have a more balanced schedule.”

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