Growing up a Yankees fan in New York City in the 70’s was amazing.
In the American League, the Royals and Red Sox were hated on the streets of New York. But in the National League, it was the Dodgers.
In 1977 and 1978, New York bested Los Angeles in the World Series. The Dodgers came back and avenged the losses by beating the Yankees in the Fall Classic in 1981.
Two of the best players in baseball were without question, Steve Garvey and Ron Cey. They weren’t just great ballplayers, they were intense competitors, and two of the classiest guys to ever walk on a field. Even if we disliked them as Dodgers, as baseball fans, we respected and admired them.
I got a chance to meet and talk with both this past weekend at a sports memorabilia show at The Orleans in Las Vegas and nothing has changed. Steve and Ron are still amazing guys and wonderful ambassadors to the sport.
I asked them how they felt about this year’s Dodgers team, which is off to a very good start in the National league West and were in first place at 19-11 going into this week’s play. Both said they feel very optimistic that the squad has what it takes to go all the way.
Which leads me into my first best bet for this week’s column as the Dodgers head north to San Francisco to take on their hated rivals, the Giants.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants: The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in baseball. They are doing it on both sides of the field. The offense ranks seventh in scoring at 5.40 RPG, 10th in Team BA at .258, and third in HR’s with 49 round-trippers. The pitching has been outstanding, ranking 10th in Team ERA at 3.98 and seventh in strikeouts with 264 K’s.
San Francisco was not touted to be a playoff team. But dropping three straight and seven of their last 10 to sink to last place in the division at 11-17 going into Monday’s play is even worse than we could have imagined.
Their pitching has been good (3.65 Team ERA). It is their offense (or lack thereof) that has been downright deplorable, ranking 29th in scoring (3.21 RPG), 29th in Team BA (.210), 27th in HR’s (24), and 25th in SB’s (9).
Things are going to go from bad to worse as they face Dodgers pitcher, Hyun-Jin Ryu here. The right-hander is in top-form, with a 3-1, 2.96 record on the season, fanning 33 and walking just two in 27.1 IP.
The Giants are expected to send Madison Bumgarner to the hill. The veteran left-hander is a disappointing 1-4 with an ERA of 4.30 on the year. Mad-Bum has not had a successful campaign since 2016.
Los Angeles is 6-1 the last seven meetings in this series and 41-17 the last 58 games played vs. NL West foes. San Francisco is 0-4 the last four games played at home and 16-38 the last 54 games played overall. DODGERS
Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels: Winners of seven of their last 10, the Jays are starting to heat up. One thing that should ensure the team stays hot, is playing the Angels.
While Toronto sits in a respectable, third place in the AL East at 14-14, Los Angeles dwells in the cellar of the AL West at 12-17. To be quite honest, neither lineup is hitting the cover off the ball. The big difference in this matchup is in the pitching staffs. The Blue Jays rank second in the Majors with a Team ERA of 3.33, while the Angels staff ranks 21st, with a Team ERA of 4.82.
Aaron Sanchez gets the road start. The right-hander is 3-1 with an ERA of 2.32 on the campaign and has yielded a mere two HR’s in 31.0 innings. The 27-year old has been solid, donning career stats of 32-20 with a 3.37 ERA in 129 games, including 75 starts.
Tyler Skaggs gets the nod at home. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.15 mark in 2019, sporting a lifetime, 23-33, 4.97 record.
The Blue Jays are 7-0 the last seven games played vs. AL West foes, 4-0 the last four games played on the road, and 7-2 the last nine games played overall. The Angels are 1-7 the last eight games played vs. AL East opponents, 2-6 the last eight games played at home, and 4-10 the last 14 games played overall. BLUE JAYS
Last week: 1-0
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