The Dodgers face off against the Orioles for only the fourth time in the 20 years of interleague play, and for just the second time in Los Angeles. Baltimore makes its first trip to Los Angeles since 2004.
LA has gone to Baltimore twice, winning two of three games in 2002 and dropping two of three in 2013. But the only time the Orioles came out to Dodger Stadium — besides the 1966 World Series — was June 15-17, 2004, when the Dodgers swept the O's, behind strong pitching from Jose Lima, Odalis Perez and Kazuhisa Ishii.
Jason Grabowski hit a two-run pinch-hit home run in his only at-bat of the series, in the finale against reliever Rodrigo Lopez. That final game was started by Erik Bedard, still four years from getting traded to Seattle in one of the biggest heists in recent memory.
Five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner Adam Jones came in that trade, and still patrols center field in Baltimore, as did Chris Tillman, who has been at or near the front of the Orioles rotation for the last four years. Tillman starts Tuesday.
Baltimore has been a contending team since 2012, following a 14-year run of sub-.500 records. They slipped back to .500 in 2015 but enter play on Monday atop the American League East, with the sixth-best record in baseball and a three-game divisional lead over Boston.
They have their own even-year streak going, making the playoffs as a wild card in 2012 and as a division winner in 2014.
The Orioles have a powerful offense, with Mark Trumbo leading the majors in home runs (24) and Chris Davis continuing to mash in the first season of his seven-year deal to return to Baltimore, hitting .242/.350/.512 with 21 home runs.
Manny Machado is in the conversation for best player in baseball, providing great defense now at shortstop while hitting .329/.384/.592. He has 18 home runs 29 doubles through 81 team games. His double play partner has been amazing this year as well, with second baseman Jonathan Schoop hitting .301/.332/.510 with 13 home runs and 22 doubles.
The Orioles lead the majors with 128 home runs.
They are also the fourth first-place team Julio Urias will face in his first eight major league starts, and fifth team in current playoff position.
Baltimore has hit ..249/.313/.429 against left-handed pitching this season, 18th in the majors in OPS, compared to .280/.338/.483, second in OPS against right-handers.
Yovani Gallardo starts the series opener for the Orioles, carrying an ugly 5.77 ERA into Monday night in his seven starts this season. After missing seven weeks with what the team called right shoulder bicep tendinitis, Gallardo has a 4.41 ERA in three starts, with 14 strikeouts and nine walks in 16⅓ innings.
Time: 6:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network