The Dodgers play their first American League opponent of the year on Tuesday, traveling to Tampa for a quick two-game set with the Rays. This is just the fourth time in 20 seasons of interleague play that these two teams have matched up, and the first time in Florida since 2007.
Here is a quick look at the schedule and pitching matchups for the series, which is chock full of starters who have to use special scissors.
Tuesday, 4:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
The last time the Dodgers and Rays played in Tampa Bay was June 22-24, 2007, and Scott Kazmir — the American League leader that year with 239 strikeouts — started the middle game for the Rays. This time, Kazmir starts for the Dodgers, looking to build off his quality start at home last Wednesday night.
Fellow left-hander Matt Moore starts the opener for the Rays, having lasted at least six innings in each of his last four starts. He has 35 strikeouts against seven walks in his 32 innings this season. Lefties (in a small sample size of just 22 plate appearances) have fared better against Moore in 2016, hitting .318/.348/.455 compared to .194/.255/.306 (in 106 plate appearances) for right-handers.
Wednesday, 4:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA)
The Dodgers shuffled their starting rotation so Alex Wood wouldn't have to face the lefty-murdering trio of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson in Toronto on Friday, though it is interesting to note that in the early going in 2016 the Rays have hit left-handed pitchers better (.251/.315/.419) than the Jays (.219/.283/.416).
Drew Smyly, yet another lefty, has four straight quality starts and is averaging just a tick under seven innings per start this season. He has 41 strikeouts against only six walks to go with his 2.60 ERA this season, and since joining the Rays from Detroit in the David Price trade in 2014 has a 2.54 ERA in 24 starts with a strikeout rate of 28.1 percent.
The Dodgers are 4-3 against left-handed starting pitchers in 2016, while the Rays are 5-2.