Two of baseball’s most iconic franchises renew their rivalry once again, as the New York Yankees head down to Southern California to start a weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As if that weren’t enticing enough, it’ll be a battle of aces on the mound, as Yankees star Luis Severino (0-0, 1.59 ERA) makes his third start of the year against future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw (6-4, 3.32). This should be fun.
L.A. enters as -140 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with New York the +120 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.
Yankees-Dodgers picks: Friday, June 2
Day to day: 1B Anthony Rizzo (neck)
Out: OF Harrison Bader (hamstring), RP Ian Hamilton (groin), SP Carlos Rodon (back), RP Jonathan Loaisiga (elbow)
Out: SP Julio Urias (hamstring), SP Michael Grove (groin), RP Tyler Cyr (shoulder), SP Dustin May (forearm), SP Ryan Pepiot (oblique), RP Jimmy Nelson (elbow)
Luis Severino vs. Clayton Kershaw
Severino was sidelined for nearly two months due to a lat strain he suffered toward the end of Spring Training, but the righty has looked pretty much like his old self since making his debut a couple of weeks ago. His fastball velocity is elite as ever — averaging 97.3 mph — and his slider and change remain very tough to square up. Severino was great in his second outing of the year, limiting the San Diego Padres to one run on just one hit and three walks over 6.2 innings of work.
After a stellar start to the season, Kershaw hit a bit of a rough patch in May, allowing four earned runs in three different outings during the month to raise his ERA from 1.89 to 3.32. It’s worth noting that the lefty has been dealing with the death of his mother — certainly an understandable reason for his mind to be a bit elsewhere right now — and he’s still an all-time great with plenty left in the tank. His fastball command hasn’t been nearly as sharp in recent starts, and once that gets locked back in, Kershaw will be back looking like himself.
I think Kershaw’s rebound starts tonight, and this Yankees lineup — even with Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson returning — simply offers way too many weak spots. The Dodgers have been tough on right-handed pitching this season, but Severino has been sharp enough that I’m riding with the under.
Pick: Under 8
In the end, I just trust Kershaw a little bit more, recent results notwithstanding. In a close game, I think Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman will make the difference late.