These two teams are hoping the next two games could be a preview of this fall’s World Series and few people would argue there’s a chance. With pitching this good, there’s always a chance.
Three of the four starting pitchers in the Dodgers’ two-game series with the Detroit Tigers that starts tonight have Cy Young awards on their resumes, and Clayton Kershaw -- who has two -- isn’t scheduled to pitch.
The Dodgers might be running into Justin Verlander (7-7, 4.71 ERA) at the right time. He has been somewhat better lately, with a 3.32 ERA and 20 strikeouts in his last 19 innings, but this has not been the type of dominant season the Tigers are accustomed to from Verlander. Then again, maybe it’s never a good time for a National League team to see Verlander. He’s 22-2 with a 2.56 ERA in interleague games and he has won his last 13 decisions against the NL.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, the only pitcher in the series without a Cy Young, goes for the Dodgers tonight having struggled in interleague matchups thus far. Last season, he allowed 12 runs and 21 hits in his three starts against AL East teams.
Wednesday’s day game pits the American League’s 2009 Cy Young winner, Zack Greinke, against the AL’s 2013 Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer. Both pitchers are headed to next week’s All-Star game in Minneapolis. Scherzer is a lot to handle. He has a 1.71 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his last three starts, all Detroit wins.
This is the Dodgers’ first trip to Detroit since 2008, but their first time facing the Tigers since just April. The teams split a two-game series at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers winning the game Scherzer pitched though he allowed just two runs over seven innings. One of those runs came on Dee Gordon’s first-inning home run.
The Tigers have been a bit topsy-turvy, having lost their last three in a row against Tampa Bay right after a stretch of 12-2 baseball that included a three-game sweep of a powerful Oakland A’s team.
The series will be a reunion of close friends Torii Hunter and Matt Kemp and both outfielders are swinging effective bats lately. Hunter, who had some discussions with the Dodgers before signing a two-year deal in Detroit two winters ago, is batting .500 in his last five games and Kemp was 4-for-5 Sunday.