The Dodgers continue interleague play with a three-game series starting Friday night at Dodger Stadium, with the Guardians making their first visit to Los Angeles since 2014.
These two teams haven’t played at all since 2017, when the Dodgers took two of three games at Progressive Field in a series that featured a Clayton Kershaw vs Trevor Bauer opener. It also included Yasiel Puig sending a pair of gestures with his fingers to the crowd in Cleveland.
For two franchises that have existed for over 100 years, they’ve only played each other a total of 12 times. The Dodgers have won seven of the 12 meetings, dating back to their first series ever in 2003, with Cleveland winning four of six at Dodger Stadium.
The only Guardian around from the last time these two clubs met is José Ramírez, one of the better third baseman in the league. Ramírez has raised his average 24 points to .307 over the past month, going 30-for-86 (.349) with eight homers, 11 doubles, two triples and eight stolen bases.
Cleveland has won 13 of their last 17 games and pulled within 2.5 games of the Twins at the top of the AL Central. Guardians’ pitching has been outstanding for the most part during that stretch to the tune of a 2.84 ERA.
Friday, 7:10 p.m. (Apple TV+)
Kershaw (4-1, 2.12) will get the ball for the Dodgers in the opener Friday, coming off his return from the injured list in his last time out. After missing just over a month, the lefty gave up two runs in four innings on three hits and two walks while striking out four. Prior to missing five weeks with SI joint inflammation, Kershaw was just as good as he ever was, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA while allowing one or less runs in four of the five starts.
The Guardians will hand the ball to Zach Plesac (2-4, 4.70) hoping for the better version of Dan’s nephew. Plesac has allowed two or less runs while pitching into the sixth inning in six of his 11 starts in 2022. But the 27-year-old has also given up five or more runs in four of the other five. At the very least, there is a possibility of seeing a play like this:
The Dodgers are -250 favorites (bet $250 to win $100) on Friday, per Draft Kings.
Saturday, 4:15 p.m. (FOX)
Cal Quantrill (4-3, 3.38) has been one of the more consistent pitchers for Cleveland this season, going at least six innings in each of his last nine starts and allowing three or less in 10 of his 11 starts overall.
Julio Urías (3-6, 2.80) will get the ball for the Dodgers with the same question of run support looming. Los Angeles is just 4-8 when the 25-year-old takes the mound, despite the lefty holding the opposition to two or less runs in nine of his 12 starts.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. (Sportsnet LA)
While the two teams have yet to officially name a starter for Sunday afternoon, it would seem to line up for Andrew Heaney’s (1-0, 0.00) return. The lefty gave up only one run over 12.1 innings in three rehab starts as he made his way back from a cranky shoulder. Prior to landing on the injured list, Heaney allowed just one unearned run over 10.1 innings in his first two starts.
Shane Bieber (3-3, 3.01) is likely to face the Dodgers in the series finale. The 2020 Cy Young winner has been the ace and workhorse for the Cleveland staff for several seasons. Bieber has struck out 75 batters and only 17 walks in 12 starts and has allowed one or less in half of those games.