Dodgers News: Jose De Leon ‘Really Wanted To Beat’ Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees met Monday night for the first time since 2013. The clubs had split the previous 10 head-to-head meetings, but the Yankees hold and edge in the World Series, winning eight of 11 matchups.

While the historic rivalry dates back multiple decades, the starting pitchers in Monday’s series opener were on the opposite end of the spectrum. Bryan Mitchell made just his fifth career start, while it was Jose De Leon’s second.

However, De Leon is well versed in Yankees history. He grew up a fan of the Boston Red Sox and idolized famed shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. That spawned from De Leon’s days playing shortstop in Puerto Rico and wearing No. 5.

His nickname was “Nomar.” Nonetheless, De Leon had more nerves in his second career outing than Major League debut. “I was actually a little more nervous than I was in L.A,” he said. “Since I grew up a Red Sox fan I really wanted to beat the Yankees.”

Whether nerves or simply growing pains that come with a young pitcher, De Leon wasn’t particularly sharp in his five innings of work. He allowed two home runs, each of the them struck well, but both were only solo shots.

“I know the ball flies here,” De Leon said. The Dodgers spotted him an early lead. Taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, extending it to 4-0 in the second, and 6-0 in the third. “It was electric, everything I expected,” De Leon said of pitching in the Bronx.

He improved to 2-0 has already crossed off pitching in two of baseball’s iconic venues during a short span. “Unfortunately, Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, it goes down from here,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts quipped after the win.

Assuming De Leon remains in the rotation and starts on normal rest, his next turn will come Saturday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.