MLB fans were treated to a potential preview of the 2019 World Series during Players Weekend as two of baseball’s most iconic franchises in the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees renewed their historic rivalry for a rare Interleague showdown at Dodger Stadium.
Both clubs, with similarly constructed rosters that feature plenty of star power and depth, entered the series just two games separated from each other in the standings.
While the Yankees cruised to a blowout victory in Friday’s opener, the next two contests were more closely contested. The Dodgers answered back with a 2-1 win, paving the way for a rubber match on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in front of a national audience.
After trading leadoff home runs in the first inning, New York was able to slug their way to a 5-1 victory, holding Los Angeles scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Despite the outcome and the Dodgers’ focus on the day at hand, Max Muncy couldn’t help but envision the two teams meeting again later in October, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It was absolutely exciting. It’s hard not to let it creep into your head that this could be a preview of something in the fall,” Muncy said. “But it’s something we’ve worked hard on in this clubhouse. It was a fun weekend, it was a loud weekend. The atmosphere was great, the fans were unbelievable. Even though we lost, it was fun.”
As Muncy noted, the atmosphere at Dodger Stadium over the weekend added a playoff-like feel to the series, giving players on both sides a possible preview of what’s to come.
While Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Walker Buehler downplayed the significance of the series, other players echoed Muncy’s point of view.
Kenley Jansen opined that the Yankees-Dodgers matchup was a good test and embraced the opportunity to face one of the deepest lineups in the league.
Similarly, Yankees manager Aaron Boone and All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge both admitted after winning the series that it carried added significance when compared to any other three-game set in august.
A silver lining is that even by dropping the series, the Dodgers still maintain a one-game lead over the Yankees for the best record in baseball.