Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Three years ago, the New York Yankees entered Dodger Stadium and took two of three games in what was widely considered a World Series preview against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Three years later, the third-place Yankees did the same. Although, a World Series preview is far from certain this time around. The Yankees are still fighting the Rays and Orioles for top position in the AL East. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is tied for first place with the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s also still too early to rule out a Giants or Padres rally.

Despite all that, New York and Los Angeles turned in a great three-game series full of adrenaline, October vibes, and all the rest.

Some takeaways:

The big bats are back. On Friday, the Yankees got a hard reality check when start Luis Severino had absolutely nothing working in a 8-4 loss.

The upside is that Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton combined for three home runs at a combined distance of 1,281 feet. Not bad considering it was each’s first game back from respective hamstring injuries. Better yet, it was the aging Donaldson who had the two-homer game.

If the former MVPs are seeing things well at the plate, that bodes well for the Yankees. Aaron Judge could soon hit the IL again with a toe injury. Having the two former MVPs’ power in the middle of the lineup will be essential if he does.

And so is Gerrit Cole. The Yankees ace teased his return to form against the Padres in his last start. Against the Dodgers, just up the highway from where he grew up in Orange County, Cole was his old self. The big righty needed just 80 pitches to complete six innings of one run ball. Cole scattered four hits with two walks and struck out five before exiting with cramps.

For context, Cole was just 1-0 with a 5.18 ERA in six May starts, and then shut down a fully loaded Dodger lineup in his first June game. Sometimes, it really is just a bad month.

See? We told you not to worry about him.

This was a World Series preview. The standings might not reflect it but there is absolutely a chance that the Yankees and Dodgers could still meet in the World Series. Forget that Los Angeles is the best regular season team in baseball history or that their time at the top may soon end. They worked past their banged up pitching and truly made the Yankees earn two of three wins.


Every game had what you’d expect from a playoff game. Clayton Kershaw shoving while Luis Severino melted down. Aaron Judge crashed into the wall to make a game-saving catch. The Dodgers’ famous minor league pitching pipeline doing all it could to shut down the Yankees, only to be undone by an RBI groundout from Oswaldo Cabrera.

The World Series is still several months away. Three games at Dodger Stadium was a great teaser. Let’s hope both the Dodgers and Yankees play their part in completing the movie.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.