Friday starts a three-game weekend series between two of the best teams in baseball, between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. Coming into Thursday’s games, the Dodgers had a slight edge when it comes to owning the title of “best record in baseball.” The Yankees have stumbled a bit on this West Coast trip, losing a series pretty easily to the Oakland Athletics. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are still red hot. They took three out of four from San Diego, swept the Cardinals, and took two out of three from the Diamondbacks and the Marlins. They have only lost one series all month, dropping two games to the Braves. They’re 13-5 this month before Thursday’s game. This is probably the most anticipated series of the baseball season so far, and very well could be a preview of the Fall Classic.
The Yankees have yet to announce a starter for Friday’s game, officially. All signs, however, point to Masahiro Tanaka getting the ball. If he does, it will be his 26th start of the season in what has been a pretty durable career for the Japanese star. This is the fourth straight season of 25 or more starts and could be the 3rd time in 4 seasons where he eclipses the 30 start mark. This season has been a rough one, relative to his career, for Tanaka. He does have a good record, 9-6, but has his second-highest earned run average in his career. However, in the one season where his ERA was higher, his xFIP was well under his ERA. That season, his xFIP was 3.44. That’s the difference of this season where his xFIP is 4.44. Tanaka has had some dominant performances this year, on multiple occasions going seven innings and giving up one run or less. But then also has multiple starts giving up five or more runs in brief starts. His numbers away from Yankee Stadium are terrible, as well. Despite his 2-3 record, he has a 6.48 ERA.
For the Dodgers, Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the ball. Ryu will be making his 24th start of the season, in what has been an incredible year. He holds a record of 12-3 with a remarkable 1.64 earned run average. Ryu is coming off one of his worst starts of the season, giving up four runs in a loss to Atlanta Braves. However, before that, he had an unreal stretch of pitching. In six starts, he gave up a combined two runs. In each of those starts, he went at least six innings as well. That is just the kind of season that Ryu has been having, he has just been absolutely unreal. To make things worse for the Yankees, Ryu literally cannot be touched at home. He currently has a 0.81 earned run average at Dodger Stadium, with an opponents batting average under .200.
If there is any silver lining to this game for the Yankees, it is that Ryu will be a free agent after this season. So, he very well may be in the Bronx in 2020. That won’t help them on Friday, however. Take the Dodgers.
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