A former Dodger turned Dodger Killer! Darin Ruf has been a thorn in LA’s side this year, but it took a few seasons after he reunited with Farhan Zaidi on the San Francisco Giants in 2020. The good news? He’s out of the division! The bad news? He might’ve gone to the Dodgers‘ top NL competitor.
The Giants traded Ruf on Tuesday to the New York Mets in a swap for third baseman JD Davis. Ruf, 36, is expected to help deepen the Mets’ bench and provide a deadly platoon offering against lefty pitchers.
For his career, he’s hitting .282 with a .929 OPS against left-handed pitching across 304 games. Pretty darn good. In 2022 against the Dodgers, Ruf was only hitting .212, but OPS’ed .903 with six runs scored, four homers and nine RBI in 10 games.
Something to worry about? Not exactly at the moment, but any playoff series is going to feature Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías starting two of the first three games. Whatever edge opponents can have on those two is valuable.
The Mets are already second-best in the NL, trailing the Dodgers by five games. They have the requisite pitching to make a playoff series scary. Now they have the proper platoon to make it that much more difficult.
Darin Ruf could still give the Dodgers trouble in the playoffs with the Mets
It might not technically “matter,” but the Mets’ last two playoff series against the Dodgers — 2006 and 2015 — were victories, with 2015 representing a glaring shortcoming on LA’s ledger. That’ll be in the back of their minds should they meet in October.
This time around, the Dodgers arguably have more depth with the way Andrew Friedman’s constructed the roster, but any mismatch in the postseason is worth pointing out. Every at-bat counts. Every moment is magnified.
Think the Giants might’ve known what they were doing when they decided to offload Ruf to the Mets and … not really sell anybody else?
The 107-win Giants couldn’t complete their quest last year, which was ended by the Dodgers. They’re certainly not getting revenge in 2022 as they hover around .500. Their best bet was to bolster the Dodgers’ closest competition as we look ahead to October.
New York’s right-handed hitters already take care of business against lefties — .248 AVG, .735 OPS, 29 homers and 101 RBI in 84 games this year — and they just got better. No need to panic, but manager Dave Roberts will have to neutralize this if he sees the Mets on the Dodgers’ way to the World Series.