The Dodgers welcome the Red Sox to Dodger Stadium for a rare meeting between the two teams, and the penultimate interleague series for the Dodgers in 2016.
Boston comes to town leading MLB in runs per game (5.46) and wRC+ (116), the latter adjusted for park and league.
But since the All-Star break the Dodgers have managed to score more runs per game (5.35) than the Red Sox (4.70).
The plan for Boston this weekend was for designated hitter David Ortiz to not start any of the three games in Los Angeles, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, but that was before first baseman Hanley Ramirez injured his wrist tripping on dugout stairs in Seattle.
Ramirez wasn’t placed on the .list, but he didn’t start on Wednesday or Thursday against the Mariners.
What that means for this weekend is unknown, but it might mean more than a glimpse at Ortiz, who is enjoying one of the all-time great seasons of anyone 40 or older, and arguably the finest final season in MLB history.
Ortiz is hitting .311/.398/.627 with 25 home runs and 87 RBI, leading the American League in slugging percentage and OPS. His 36 doubles not only lead the majors, but are also a record for any player 40 or older, surpassing Sam Rice (35 doubles) in 1930.
The Dodgers plan to honor the retiring Ortiz before Friday’s game.
Getting Ortiz and the other Red Sox out falls on the shoulders, and left arm, of Scott Kazmir, who makes his first start of August after a 3.58 ERA with 33 strikeouts and three walks in July.
Kazmir has a 3.91 ERA at home this season with a 27.1-percent strikeout rate, compared to 4.48 and 22.4 percent on the road.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright, who went to Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, starts the opener for the Red Sox. He made the All-Star team after a stellar first half, but is coming off a 6.23 ERA in July, with 30 strikeouts and 11 walks in 34⅔ innings in six starts.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (joined in progress)