The final game in a three-game series between cross-country and cross-league rivals will arrive Sunday with yet another nod to the past, as well as some anticipation earned from the first two contests.
The Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the New York Yankees on Sunday evening in front of a national-television audience, after the Yankees' 10-2 domination Friday and the Dodgers' dramatic 2-1 victory Saturday.
Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen left the bases loaded by recording back-to-back strikeouts to cap Saturday's game.
In the finale, the Dodgers will have future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw on the mound, fresh off a victory that moved him past Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax on the team's all-time win list.
Another historical marker is a testament to Kershaw's successful career as well as his longevity. Yet he continues to be a key component in the Dodgers' chase for their first World Series title in 31 years.
Kershaw (13-2, 2.71 ERA) not only recorded his 166th victory in a Dodgers uniform when he got past the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, he delivered yet another outing of at least six innings. All 22 of his starts this season have been six innings or more, with 19 of those quality starts. He has not thrown more than 101 pitches in an outing.
Yet all of it is a mere side note to what Kershaw really wants. And he might have to go through the Yankees at least one more time in October to get it.
"All the historical stuff is something for me to look back on when I retire, but right now we have a singular goal in here, to be the last team standing, and every win leading up to that is just practice to get better," Kershaw said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I'm not really too focused on that, but I try not to take it for granted because it's a special thing."
Pitching for the Yankees on Sunday is none other than major league wins leader Domingo German (16-3, 4.15), who is second in baseball in win percentage behind ... Kershaw.
German is coming off a rare defeat Tuesday, when the Oakland Athletics tagged him for six runs (five earned) and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. The outing ended his career-best seven-decision winning streak.
German has never faced the Dodgers, while Kershaw has made three starts against the Yankees. While the Dodgers' left-hander does not have a decision against the Yankees, he has an ERA of 0.90 in 20 innings.
Keeping New York off the scoreboard this time will have its challenges. Despite all of his success this year, Kershaw's 18 home runs allowed are the second most in his career behind the 23 he allowed in 2017. And the Yankees are second in baseball with 238 home runs, including five against the Dodgers on Friday and one more Saturday.
The Yankees' Aaron Judge has a home run in each of the first two games.
"Feeling good, just getting some good pitches to hit," Judge said, according to MLB.com. "If I get it over the plate, I try to do some damage. Sometimes you don't get too many pitches to hit, start to chase and go after some stuff. I just tried to stay in my zone, and you get rewarded for that."
--Field Level Media