Throughout my discussions with Mets fans, many seem very pessimistic about their chances against the Dodgers, so to shed some light on the subject…
Starting Game 1 for the Dodgers will likely be star pitcher Clayton Kershaw who struck out 300 batters this season for first time in his career. This, combined with the fact that he was perfect through six against the Mets in late July, may seem a bit daunting for Mets fans.
However, Kershaw sports a career 5.12 ERA in eleven postseason appearances. In early July, Kershaw pitched well against New York, tossing seven innings and striking out seven, only allowing one run on five hits. However, Syndergaard pitched even better than Kershaw, striking out six over six innings, allowing two hits-one being an Adrian Gonzalez home run. This was a game that the Mets would go on to win 2-1 (before their revamped lineup).
The following day, the Mets put up a good fight against Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke and the weak Los Angeles bullpen-a day where Wilmer Flores was batting cleanup and Darrell Ceciliani fifth. New York lost the game 4-3 on a dreadful inning by Alex Torres. Replace Flores and Ceciliani with Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d’Arnaud; replace Torres with Tyler Clippard, and throw in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe off the bench instead of John Mayberry Jr-L.A. doesn’t stand a chance in this one-run game. When all is said and done, the Mets beat Los Angeles in the regular season four games to three. All seven games took place without Cespedes, d’Arnaud, and David Wright-half were without Clippard, d’Arnaud, Uribe, Johnson, and Michael Conforto.
The Dodgers have reinstated a healthy and just as cocky Yasiel Puig from the disabled list, who is bound to play a role in this series. And, of course, the Mets struggled closing out the regular season, barely reaching ninety wins coming into the division series. However, the Dodgers offense is not too hot either. The Mets seemingly no longer have to worry about Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez or star rookie Joc Pederson, who all had dreadful second halves. Veterans Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Carl Crawford all underperformed this year-nothing that the Mets dominant pitching can’t take care of. These guys, with the exception of switch hitters in Grandal and Rollins, are all lefties-which gives opportunity for Jon Niese, Steven Matz, or Sean Gilmartin to come in late and mow them down after six or seven innings from New York’s star pitchers. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia are as strong a 1-2 punch you can ask for to nail down the eighth and ninth innings.
That leaves ex-Met Justin Turner and star rookie Corey Seager to worry about. Turner will no doubt seek vengeance on the team that underestimated him-as he’s been successful against New York this season. Seager, a September call-up, has hit an impressive .337 with four home runs in his short big league career. Turner and Seager could be platooning at third-however it is more likely to see ex-Phillies star Jimmy Rollins out of the lineup in place of Seager. To look at the silver lining, Turner has not had much success after battling a staph infection in August.
Although the Dodgers may seem scary with Kershaw and Greinke at the top of their rotation, don’t let them fool you. Their offense is riddled with has-beens, and their bullpen is nothing to be proud of aside from lefty specialist J.P. Howell and closer Kenley Jansen. Once you get passed Kershaw and Geinke in the rotation, the Dodgers have the option to start either Brett Anderson (10-9, 3.69) or Alex Wood (12-12, 3.84)-neither of which is as attractive a choice as Harvey or Matz as your third and fourth starter.
So calm down, Mets fans; Friday is almost here. Get on your couch-sit back, relax-and watch the Yankees lose tonight. But don’t fall asleep there. For the love of God don’t fall asleep there.