The Dodgers play the Yankees in New York for just the second time in the 20 years of interleague play, and the first three-game series between these two teams at Yankee Stadium.
The Dodgers’ only other interleague trip to New York was part of a home-and-home split with the Yankees in 2013 that included two games at each park.
With a series win in The Bronx, the Dodgers can accomplish something they have only done six times in the previous 19 seasons of interleague play — finish with at least a .500 record in American League parks.
For whatever reason, the Dodgers historically not fared well on the road in interleague play, even in years when they were good and/or had relatively good offenses, the kind that would be able to properly fill a lineup with an extra hitter.
Since the start of interleague play in 1997, the Dodgers are 65-102 (.389) on the road, compared to 91-73 (.555) at home. In 2016, they are 5-5 in interleague play at Dodger Stadium and 3-4 on the road. A series win gets the Dodgers to at least 5-5 in AL parks this year, something they have done just six previous times — 2014 (7-3), 2003 (6-3), 1998 (5-3), 2002 (5-4), 2009 (5-4) and 2013 (5-5).
Against the Yankees in interleague play — they met in 2004 and 2010 in Los Angeles in addition to the four-game split in 2013 — the Dodgers are 5-5, including 1-1 at Yankee Stadium.
With three games in an American League park, the Dodgers will get to use the designated hitter in this series against the Yankees. So far this season, Dodgers DHs are a combined 5-for-27 (.185) with one double, three walks, three runs scored and one RBI in seven games.
Three of the previous seven starts at DH were by Carl Crawford, with Justin Turner, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and Kiké Hernandez starting once each.
The Dodgers have never really gotten much out of the DH in the 20 years of interleague play, hitting a combined .233/.315/.341 with 10 home runs in 167 games. That’s the fewest home runs from the position in the last 20 years, and only the Expos/Nationals (.633) have a worse OPS than the Dodgers out of the DH spot.
Those 10 Dodgers home runs out of the DH spot, by the way, were hit by Matt Kemp (2), Hanley Ramirez, Ramon Hernandez, Bobby Abreu, Manny Ramirez, Luis Gonzalez, Olmedo Saenz, Mike Kinkade and Chad Kreuter. The last one was hit by Kemp on Aug. 6, 2014 against Matt Shoemaker of the Angels.
As for this series, manager Dave Roberts said that Justin Turner would start at least one game in New York at DH, and that Andre Ethier was a DH candidate as well, depending on how he felt after playing the outfield on Sunday, his first major league start of the season (and sixth game in the outfield in the last three weeks, counting the minors), per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
World Series history
The Dodgers have played many times at the various incarnations of Yankee Stadium in the postseason, playing the Yankees in 11 different World Series. The clubs met seven times in the Fall Classic when the Dodgers in Brooklyn, including six times in a 10-year span — 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955* and 1956 — and four more times after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles — 1963*, 1977, 1978 and 1981*.
In World Series games, the Dodgers are 29-37 (.439) all-time against the Yankees — 10-22 at Yankee Stadium, 11-12 at Ebbets Field, and 8-3 at Dodger Stadium.
*Dodgers World Series wins