Jun 4, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25) hits a three-run home run against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

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July 30, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) reaches second against the tag of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) after hitting a double in the first inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

New York and Los Angeles are the two biggest stages in Major League Baseball and over the past few years, the two teams have been locked in a massive arms race to better their teams. Going into 2014, the two superpower franchises each boast some star-studded rosters that could be some of the best in baseball. Yet, when you break down both the Yankees and the Dodgers, you’ll find a few question marks and the two even share some holes on their teams. Let’s get through the smoke and mirrors and break down the boys from the Bronx and Hollywood.  And if you want to see them live, check out Barrys Tickets for all your ticketing needs.

For these purposes we will exclude the designated hitter and add the Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano to the outfield.

Catcher: Brian McCann joined the Yankees after signing a big contract this off-season. He’s been a real leader throughout his career and his offensive production is a huge addition for the Bombers. He’s not too shabby at defense either and is widely regarded as one of the best catchers in the game. On the Dodgers’ side there’s A.J. Ellis, who is a very solid player, but does not put up offensive numbers like McCann. Ellis is a very talented defensive catcher but he is injured a little too often and does not deliver the type of overall production that McCann brings to the table day in and day out.

Edge: New York Yankees

First Base: This one should be fun. The Dodgers’ first baseman over the past year and a half has been Adrian Gonzalez. After being traded from the Red Sox in that monster deal back in 2012, Gonzalez has put up very good numbers with his big bat as he hit 22 home runs last year and drove in 100. The Yankees’ first baseman is of course Mark Teixeira, who missed almost all of last season with a wrist injury. However, if you’ve been watching Spring Training, you’ve seen that Tex looks very healthy and is starting to get his swing back. Teixeira, when healthy, can be slated for 20-plus home runs and a RBI total around the century mark. Throw in his superb glove and you’ve got a great first baseman. Gonzalez’s defense may not be as good, but these days his bat is better than Teixeira’s so both teams really have it good here.

Jun 4, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25) hits a three-run home run against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Edge: Even

2nd Base: After the Yankees lost Robinson Cano they were in a rough place at second. But they signed Brian Roberts who has been very injury-prone over the past few seasons but has looked very good so far in Spring Training. The former Baltimore Orioles All-Star could become a very good pickup for the Yankees. The Dodgers’, believe it or not, may actually be worse off. This off-season, infielders Nick Punto and Mark Ellis left via free agency and Jerry Hairston Jr. and Michael Young retired. They signed Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero in the hopes that he could make an impact at second base this year. But Guerrero has had a tough go at it defensively and his offense, while decent hasn’t lived up to it’s billing. The Dodgers’ now seem to be turning to former starting shortstop Dee Gordon to be the starter. Dee has good defense and great speed but lacks almost any hitting ability. Chone Figgins was signed by the Dodgers but he hasn’t played in one year after spending three very bad seasons with Seattle. Both teams may be in trouble but at least the Yankees have an every day second-sacker.

Edge: New York Yankees

Shortstop: Now this one is tough. The Yankees’ have a legend in Derek Jeter looking good in Spring Training after a multitude of leg injuries derailed his 2013 season. Going into his final season, the future Hall of Famer can be slotted in for a classic Jeter season of hit totals and a big batting average. But can the 40-year-old overcome last year’s dismal injury mess and be the Jeter of old? The 30-year-old Hanley Ramirez has been the Dodgers’ shortstop since coming over from the Miami Marlins at the 2012 trade deadline. Hanley has vastly matured into a leader over in Los Angeles and is considered to be among the best hitting shortstops in baseball. However, Ramirez has succumbed to injuries at many points throughout his career and often finds himself on the disabled list. His overall production can not be disregarded and he is a leader both on and off the field much like Jeter has always been.

Edge: Los Angeles Dodgers

3rd Base: Let’s not get too deep into this. Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the season and will not be eligible to return until the 2015 season. The Bombers did however sign Kelly Johnson who is a very underrated hitter. Johnson brings double-digit home runs to the Yankees lineup and can even steal a few bases. While he’s not the best defender, he’s not a liability by any means. Johnson, who is expected to platoon with a right handed batter, will not hit for a high average but he hit 16 homers last year and that may get a boost with his lefty bat in Yankee Stadium. The Dodgers’ third baseman is more than likely Juan Uribe who can have one of two seasons: A very bad season or an average season. Uribe is getting up there in years and he has been a little too inconsistent over the past few seasons. Uribe is not a great defender and he’s not going to steal many bases, if any at all. I don’t think the Dodgers know what to expect from the infielder while the Yankees have a very good understanding of Kelly Johnson’s ability.

Edge: New York Yankees

Outfield: Ah the outfield! The meat and potatoes of both squads. The Dodgers have a big name outfield with guys like Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier as well as last year’s rookie sensation, Yasiel Puig. Crawford has famously floundered over the past few seasons and, even after being traded to the Dodgers from the Red Sox, has not been as good as he once was. Matt Kemp has all the talent and potential in the world and showcased that with a monster season in 2011. But lately his name has been seen on the disabled list more than than the MVP ballot. Even now, Kemp’s injury is suspect and he may not be ready to start the season. Ethier has had his ups and downs but lately has turned into a very valuable player on the team, and looks to repeat another solid season. Puig baffled baseball last year by putting on a tremendous display of overall game play right from the start. He did slow down at the end of last season and has had a rough time off the field. He still has to improve his maturity but the Dodgers are hoping for another big year from the sophomore.

The Yankees bolstered what was a thin outfield last year with some big time free agents. Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the game’s most dynamic players, left the rival Red Sox to join the Yankees. Carlos Beltran has warded off Father Time for years now and is looking to continue his recent production with the Cardinals after becoming a Yankee. Beltran has never stopped being a slugger and looks to benefit from the small dimensions of Yankee Stadium. Brett Gardner shifts to left field with Ellsbury taking over in center field and those two pose a lethal combination of speed and defense in the outfield. Alfonso Soriano will grab the designated  hitter role but will swap out with Beltran in right at times. Soriano can still slug with the best of them and looks to do so once again. But Beltran and Ellsbury have had their injury troubles and losing them would be a huge blow to the lineup. If the Dodgers’ outfield is healthy it is fantastic and it may be better than the Bombers’ outfield.

Edge: Los Angeles Dodgers

Starting Pitching: The Yankees won the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes over the Dodgers and so far all signs point up for the 25-year-old rookie. Yet the Yankees are left with a lot of question marks in the rotation with C.C. Sabathia coming off a bad year and Hiroki Kuroda getting older. Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda look very promising but past inconsistencies and injuries could derail their seasons. The Dodgers’ may have some questions at the back of the rotation but the front is rock solid. Team ace Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and is a 2-time Cy Young Award winner at only 25 years of age. Zack Greinke has had trouble with injuries in recent years but they’ve come via freak accidents. Despite criticism, Greinke shined in the spotlight of Los Angeles and was a great number two pitcher behind Kershaw. At the number three slot is Hyun-jin Ryu, who was awesome for the team coming out of Korea in 2013. If all questions are answered positively for the Yankees, they’ve got a shot at having one of the best rotations in baseball, but for now the Dodgers’ rotation may have that title.

Edge: Los Angeles Dodgers

Bullpen: Let’s take this with a grain of salt. We don’t know what the Yankees’ bullpen is capable of with David Robertson now the closer after Mariano Rivera called it a career. But the young guns have impressed in Spring Training and guys like Cesar Cabral and Dellin Betances seem to finally be ready to contribute to the big league squad. But sill there are a lot of questions that could have very good answers but it’s yet to be seen. The Dodgers’ spent a lot of money this off-season by adding to the bullpen. Former closers Brian Wilson and Chris Perez joined the bullpen alongside J.P. Howell, Brandon League, and a very able closer in Kenley

Mar 3, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws to the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of their spring training baseball game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Jansen. The Dodgers’ bullpen looks very good and the Yankees could stack up to it but right now that remains to be seen.

Edge: Los Angeles Dodgers

Bench: The Dodgers’ bench is virtually nonexistent. Michael Young and Jerry Hairston Jr. have retired and Mark Ellis and Nick Punto have moved on through free agency.  Chone Figgins is projected to make the Opening Day bench but it is hard to picture him coming back after so many down years. Either Dee Gordon or Alexander Guerrero will win the starting role in the infield and the other will be sent to the bench or maybe even the minors. On the other side the Yankees have future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki as their 5th outfielder where the roster stands right now. He’s looked very good at the plate so far this spring, and he can still run and field like the Ichiro of old. Eduardo Nunez looks like he’ll be headed to the bench as a reserve infielder. Barring a trade, Francisco Cervelli looks poised to be the backup catcher and has absolutely crushed the ball in spring training. The team has gotten some real nice results from some unexpected places like Yangervis Solarte who could make the bench from out of nowhere. Others may join as well and the Yankees’ bench looks very good right now.

Edge: New York Yankees

So looking at these two teams may change your perception of each. They both have a lot of questions and they each have their share of holes on the roster. But when you open a newspaper you’ll read about how the Dodgers look to be World Series favorites and the Yankees are predicted to be a middle of the road team. That seems very strange considering how similar these two teams are. When you hear all the talk about the Yankees and Dodgers’ questions, they all seem to assume positive answers for Los Angeles and negative answers for New York. It seems like baseball people are looking at the Yankees very unfairly because when compared to the “World Series Favorites” they’re a very comparable pair.

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