The Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers are meeting six months later than they probably would have preferred.
These teams lost in the league championship series a year ago and begin a two-game set Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles (5-3) and Detroit (4-1) have never met in the World Series, and both are among the favorites to get there this year after falling in six games in LCS play to St. Louis and Boston in 2013.
The Dodgers are unsure of the status of Yasiel Puig, who had an eventful weekend. Puig sat out Sunday’s 6-2 victory over San Francisco with a strained thumb ligament after he was benched for the home opener Friday because he arrived late. He is day to day.
The Tigers will begin this series with reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound while two-time reigning league MVP Miguel Cabrera could be facing some difficult matchups.
Los Angeles’ Josh Beckett may make his season debut Wednesday and Dan Haren (1-0, 0.00) will start Tuesday. Those pitchers could quiet Cabrera, who is 4 for 19 against each of them.
Haren yielded an unearned run over six innings in Wednesday’s 5-1 victory at San Diego. Now he’ll make his home debut for the Dodgers as he looks to improve on his 4-0 mark and 2.45 ERA in his last five starts versus the Tigers.
The right-hander has been tough on other Detroit regulars besides Cabrera, with Ian Kinsler going 8 for 36, Torii Hunter 1 for 11 and Austin Jackson 2 for 11.
Scherzer is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers. He yielded four hits in eight innings in Wednesday’s 2-1, 10-inning win over Kansas City in his 2014 debut.
The right-hander is looking forward to batting as he tries to improve on a .169 career average.
"When interleague play comes this early in the season, you’ve got to get rid of your golf swing," Scherzer told the Tigers’ official website. "I’ve got to realize that I’m not coming around the ball anymore – I’m staying inside the ball."
Matt Kemp is 0 for 16 against Scherzer as he looks to build on Sunday’s strong effort.
Kemp hit his first two home runs at home since late in 2012 as Los Angeles avoided a weekend sweep. Hanley Ramirez also homered twice.
”It always feels good to hit home runs here in Dodger Stadium, especially with the home crowd,” Kemp said. ”It has been a while, so I was pretty excited to do that. It can be tough to hit home runs here at times, but it looked like the ball was carrying a little bit tonight.”
Detroit’s Brad Ausmus will manage his first road game in a familiar place since he finished his playing career with the Dodgers from 2009-10.
Ausmus was off to a perfect start before Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Baltimore. Hunter was 6 for 12 with three homers and seven RBIs in the three-game set.