It’s getting closer now. It really is. The Dodgers are only a few days away from their first real test of the season, a best of 5
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playoff against the New York Mets. The Dodgers edged out the Mets in the last few days of the regular season to clinch home field advantage, meaning games 1,2 and 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium. As Alex noted yesterday, pitching is going to be a big part of this series. With names such asClayton Kershaw
, how could it not be? If we can be sure of one thing, its that runs are not going to come cheaply. Because of this however, I think it’s the teams respective offenses that are going to be the bigger factor in this series. I can comfortably say that I give the Dodgers the edge here whilst Wright and Cespedes are formidable opponents, the Dodgers hit all the way through the lineup and the bench. Fan favouriteJuan Uribe
will miss the series against his old club with a sore rib cage, whilstJustin Turner
will be looking to show the Mets exactly what they missed out on.
Game 1 – Kershaw vs deGrom
Wow. If quality pitching is what gets you excited then look no further. One of the top pitchers in the modern era will come up against a genuinely exciting young talent. DeGrom’s fastball is electric. It sits in the mid 90’s with plenty of late life making it tough on both lefties and righties. He compliments his big fastball with a change-up an breaking ball which are both above average, whilst his pitching mechanics are seemingly flawless. If you’re a young, aspiring pitcher take note. However, deGrom finds himself up against arguably the best pitcher alive in Clayton Kershaw and a Dodgers offense which much prefers right-handed pitching. Kershaw has experienced a spike in velocity this year, pushing his fastball up into the mid 90’s range. Kershaw backs this up with a devastating curveball/slider combination.
I think its advantage Dodgers here. Kershaw is simply too good a pitcher to be out dueled by deGrom and a patchy Mets offense at home. I think the difference maker for the Dodgers in this game is going to be young Corey Seager. The kid seems to be a fan of big first impressions and this would be no exception. I also think deGrom’s pitching style plays right into Seager’s swing.
Dodgers win 2-1
Game 2 – Greinke vs Syndergaard
Kershaw may be the best pitcher on the planet when considering the last few years but this year, it’s Zack Greinke. Greinke appears to be in line for Cy Young number 2 after winning it in 2009 with the Royals and is exactly the type of pitcher you want pitching behind Kershaw. Syndergaard meanwhile is part 2 of the Mets young, hard throwing trio and has been very effective in his first year in the bigs. He has however struggled away from Citi Field with an ERA well over 4.
My Prediction: I think Greinke throws 7 stellar innings, before turning the ball over to the bullpen who, well rested, perform well. Young Michael Conforto goes deep for the Mets in the middle innings, but the Dodgers capitalise on an inexperienced Syndergaard away from home. Andre Ethier deposits a Syndergaard hanger into the right field seats a two run shot.
Dodgers win 4-1
Game 3 – Harvey vs Anderson
With the series 2-0 in the Dodgers favour, the contest heads to Citi Field. Brett Anderson pitched admirably for the Dodgers this year after being asked to pitch in the number 3 spot after signing as the number 5 starter. There are a few things to note about Anderson. One, he gets a lot of groundballs (66.67%) and two he gives up a lot of home runs – 18 to be exact. In fact 10% of all of Anderson’s fly balls end up as home runs. Meanwhile, ace Matt Harvey gets the ball for the Mets. A definite miss-match in the starters here. I should not however that the drama surrounding Harvey at the moment (the innings scandal and accidentally missing a compulsory training session) as well as the fact he has never pitched in the post-season could potentially result in a total meltdown.
Mets win 6-2
Game 4 – Matz* vs Wood
I put the asterisk there as Matz is currently struggling with back spasms. If unable to start Bartolo Colon would presumably
Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielderYasiel Puig
(66) heads for the dugout after a 2-run home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
take his place. Matz has only pitched a handful of games at the major league level in his short career. Like the rest of this Mets rotation he’s a hard thrower, he is however the only left-hander. His stats are over too small a sample size to be meaningful, however the Mets are very high on this kid. Meanwhile Alex Wood takes the ball for the Dodgers (embrace the funk). Alex Wood can blow up against powerful, right-handed lineups (please avoid Toronto Alex) simply because his fastball isn’t sneaking past anyone. If he can command his change-up and knuckle-curve however, Wood appears very much like a top of the rotation starter. Wood has struggled on the road this year, although those numbers are inflated by horror starts in both Arizona and Colorado. This game is the first time we will see right-handers Yasiel Puig, Justin Ruggiano and possibly Enrique Hernandez. A.J Ellis will also likely get the start here.
My Prediction: I think Wood has his change-up on a string in this one, neutralising the Mets offense and leaves the game in the 7th with a 4 hitter. Puig hits a solo shot of Matz whilst Ellis and Hernandez have solid games with the bat.
Dodgers win 3-2
With that I have the Dodgers in 4 games. As you can see there are no easy games for the Dodgers so they’re going to have to play good baseball throughout the series if they want to win. The Dodgers have the deeper and more talented roster but it’s certainly going to be tested by this young Mets rotation.
If you’re a Dodgers fan, it’s time to get excited.