The LA Dodgers host the Boston Red Sox in a 3-day series at Dodgers Stadium Friday-Sunday. Phil Vassallo gives you his free pick for Friday's game. Also, we ask what if the Dodgers' brain trust had never pulled off that big trade at the end of August, 2012.

Red Sox Dodgers Big Trade
Let’s make a deal – every time Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford or even Nick
Punto step up to the plate during the Dodgers’ three-game series with the Red
Sox, we think about to about this time a year and wonder: What if?

If the Dodgers’ brain trust wasn’t savvy and wealthy enough to pull off that
waiver-wire deadline deal at the end of August, 2012 and take on all that extra
payroll – including pitcher Josh Beckett – while giving up first baseman James
Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., right-handed pitching prospects Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa and outfielder Jerry Sands, where would they be today? 

Maybe the move saved the Red Sox some $270 million in contracts spread out over
2018, but it saved the Dodgers some face. While Beckett has been on the DL most
of this year, Gonzalez, Crawford and Punto have been key ingredients in their
latest surge to the NL West lead. So how’d the Red Sox fare in all this?

The 24-year-old hot shot De La Rosa has finally worked his way onto the roster
recently, but not into the starting rotation – a place the Dodgers were comfortable
in placing him during the 2010 season before he blew out his arm. He remains on
a pitch count as they’re handling him with care two years removed from Tommy
John surgery. Webster remains at Triple-A Pawtucket (5-4, 4.13 ERA after a brief
callup in April, going 1-2 with a 9.57 ERA). Sands and DeJesus were traded to the
Pirates for ineffective reliever Joel Hanrahan, and are still wallowing away at Triple-A
Indianapolis. And, of course, Looney left to join Tampa Bay as a free agent.

Surely, all of this will give the national broadcast teams something to talk on
and on about as the series progresses. If only Manny Ramirez was still part of the
conversation. (You know, he is now available to either team).

Where to watch the series:
Friday 7:10 p.m., Prime
Saturday, 1:10 p.m., Channel FOX 11
Sunday, 5:05 p.m., ESPN


Home Run Derby Highlights of the night

Prince Fielder hits a home run in slow motion:

Mike Trout and Justin Verlander react:

Yoenis Cespedes steals the show in the first round:

Pedro Alvarez nearly hit it out of the stadium:

David Wright channels his inner Michael Jordan:

Cespedes teaches someone that they shouldn't park their truck in centerfield:


Friday night’s slate of MLB games are highlighted by the home teams having very good starting pitching as they open up the weekend series.

There could be a somewhat surprising pitching duel Friday night when Bruce Chen and the Kansas City Royals (43-46, 21-24 away) pay a visit to Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians (48-44, 27-19 home) in the first game of a weekend three-game series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET, a series that leads right into the All-Star Break.

The posted total at Prime Wagers is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

The Indians simple refuse to go away in the American League Central race, as they
are in second place and only 2½ games behind the Detroit Tigers, who were expected to run
away with things
before the season, after taking two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays,
beating R.A. Dickey 4-2 in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.

Winning that series from the Blue Jays was important because it showed that the Indians
did not get down on themselves after losing three out of four games to those Tigers here at home
last weekend when the Tribe had a chance to make a statement. One encouraging sign to come
out of that Tiger series was the performance of tonight’s starter Kluber, who got back on track after
two sub-par performances.

Kluber may not be a household name nationally, but he had allowed three earned runs or less
in 11 of his first 13 games this season before getting touched up for seven runs
(six earned) on 11 hits in 4.2 innings by the Baltimore Orioles on June 27th
and then
following that up by allowing four earned runs, albeit on only four hits, in 5.1 innings
vs. these Royals on July 2nd.

Kluber managed to right the ship vs. probably the best offense in the American League though,
limiting the potent Tigers to two runs on five hits with an impressive 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings
on Sunday in the only Cleveland victory of that series.

That leaves Kluber 6-5 with a 4.23 ERA overall, but he has an excellent ratio of 86 strikeouts vs.
19 walks in 87.1 innings, and believe it or not he is actually ninth in the Major Leagues
among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched with an xFIP of 3.04! He also
pitched well the first time he faced the Royals this year allowing two runs in
seven innings with six strikeouts and not a single walk, so we will forgive his
July 2nd outing against them in lieu of Sunday’s nice start.

The Royals are coming off of a four-game split vs. the New York Yankees, although they are
probably disappointed as they lost on Wednesday and Thursday after
winning the first two games of the series
. Kansas City is now turning to the southpaw veteran
Chen, who was considered the ace of the Royals’ staff a couple of years ago but is now making
his first start of the year after 19 relief appearances, taking the rotation spot of an ineffective Luis Mendoza.

Then again Chen seems like a logical choice to fill that rotation spot.
After all, he is a veteran of 203 Major League starts and he earned this
opportunity by pitching well out of the pen this year, going 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA
over 33.2 innings. It was Chen that took over for the struggling Mendoza on
Sunday vs. the Oakland Athletics, tossing 3.1 effective innings, and his first
start comes vs. a Cleveland offense batting just .237 vs. left-handed pitchers
at home this season.

Look for Chen to prove serviceable in his first start of 2013 and for Kluber to return to
the fine form he had early in the year following his very good outing vs. the Tigers, resulting
in an ‘under’ on Friday.

June 6

— Casey Stengel, after being traded by Brooklyn in the offseason, made his return to Ebbets Field a memorable one. In his first at-bat, Stengel called time, stepped out of the batter's box and doffed his cap. A bird flew out and the fans broke into laughter.

— Myril Hoag hit a major league record six singles in the New York Yankees' 15-3 rout of the Boston Red Sox.

— The New York Giants hit five home runs in the fourth inning in a 17-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at the Polo Grounds. With two out, Harry Danning, Al Demaree, Burgess Whitehead, Manny Salvo and Joe Moore connected as the Giants scored eight runs in the inning.

— In the first game of a doubleheader, Boston's Boo Ferriss scattered 14 hits to beat Philadelphia 5-2. Ferris, 8-0 on the year, tied the AL mark held by Chicago's John Whitehead for wins at the start of a career.

— Erv Dusak Red Schoendienst Enos Slaughter and Nippy Jones homer in the sixth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Phillies 11-1 in the first of two games. Phillies pitcher Charlie Bicknell gave up 18 total bases in the inning.

— Tom Tresh of the New York Yankees connected for three consecutive home runs in a 12-0 rout of the Chicago White Sox. Tresh hit his first homer right-handed off Juan Pizzaro in the first inning, then went to the other side of the plate and hit two against Bruce Howard in the third and fifth innings.
— Cleveland manager Frank Robinson hit two three-run homers in a 7-5 win over the Texas Rangers.

— California's Nolan Ryan pitched a one-hitter for a 6-0 win over Milwaukee. Ryan's bid for a no-hitter was foiled by Hank Aaron's single in the sixth inning.

— San Diego Padres manager Steve Boros was ejected before the first pitch of the game with the Atlanta Braves when he tried to give umpire Charlie Williams a videotape of a disputed play in the previous night's 4-2 loss to Atlanta.

— Eddie Murray drove in two runs at Pittsburgh to pass Mickey Mantle (1,509) as the all-time RBI leader among switch-hitters.

— J.D. Drew of Florida State hit a record-setting three homers in his final three at-bats in a 16-11 loss to Southern California in the College World Series. Drew finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs and 12 total bases, also a series record.

— For the second time in major league history and first in the AL, a cycle and a triple play took place in the same game. Boston's John Valentin hit for the cycle, while Chicago turned a triple play in the Red Sox's 7-4 victory. In 1931, Philadelphia's Chuck Klein hit for the cycle in the same game that the Phillies turned a triple play against the Chicago Cubs.

— Jason Lane's grand slam capped a five-run ninth inning as Southern California won its first NCAA title in 20 years, beating Pac-10 rival Arizona State 21-14 in the College World Series.

— The New York Mets ended Seattle's 13-game road winning streak with a 3-2 win in the first meeting between the teams. It was the longest streak in the majors since Detroit's 17 straight road wins in 1984.

— Baltimore's Corey Patterson had his run of successive games with a stolen base stopped at nine in a 6-4 loss to Toronto. It was the longest run in the majors since Rickey Henderson had an identical stretch in 1986.

— Trevor Hoffman became the first major leaguer with 500 career saves when he closed out the San Diego Padres' 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Today's birthdays: Junichi Tazawa 27; Matt Belisle 32; Jeremy Affeldt 33; Mark Ellis

Source: Associated Press