With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spot in October secured, it’s fun to daydream about a potential NLCS matchup against one of the league’s best teams: the New York Mets. Some would even say the two squads are on a collision course heading towards each other.
So the question must be asked: are the Mets a legitimate threat to the Dodgers’ pennant hopes? The short answer is yes. However, LA’s advantage exists exactly where the Amazins’ are weak: pitching depth.
The Dodgers have dealt with injuries to their pitching staff all season long. Walker Buehler has been out and will be out for the foreseeable future. Blake Treinen has been out most of the season and just landed back on the IL. The list of nagging injuries goes on.
If nothing else, the 2022 Dodgers have proven to be a resilient bunch that will consistently “answer the bell.” Players such as Alex Vesia, Evan Phillips, Julio Urías, Dustin May, and Tyler Anderson have all contributed in big spots that have allowed LA to run away with the best record in MLB.
The Dodgers have held opponents to baseball’s lowest batting average. They also possess the NL’s lowest team ERA by a wide margin. And some out there are worried about the Mets’ pitching?
Why the Dodgers shouldn’t worry about the Mets in a possible NLCS matchup
The Mets have been primarily praised for two reasons. They possess a stellar starting rotation and a “retro” offense that includes elements of both the old and new schools of thought.
In terms of the rotation, one shouldn’t act as if LA is in an entirely “lesser league.” Indeed, a healthy Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom present problems for the boys in blue. However, if Tony Gonsolin is able to make a full recovery (and if Clayton Kershaw is 100%), that’ll be a colossal problem for New York.
The Mets are a team that thrives off of contact hitting. Gonsolin may not have a dominant strikeout or whiff percentage, but his combination of fastballs and changeups could keep the lineup’s “big guns” off balance. Gonsolin faced New York earlier this season and recorded a strong six innings of work without surrendering a run. Similarly, Anderson is an arm that could prove deadly. He currently ranks in the 94th percentile for chase rate. So where Gonsolin would have to work somewhat craftily, Anderson would be able to challenge the Mets’ best offensive trait.
Both team’s bullpens are an entirely different story. New York has Edwin Diaz, but the path to get to the “trumpets” has been an ongoing experiment. On the other hand, LA has been graced by depth. Phillips has been excellent. He leads the team with a 1.35 ERA. Others like Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Heaney, the currently injured Brusdar Graterol, and the aforementioned Vesia have each had their moment in the sun. This level of depth is key to postseason success.
It can be said that the Dodgers have “more paths to victory” when compared to the Mets. LA doesn’t necessarily need seven innings of shutout ball from their starter in order to succeed. Instead, they are a club that can win games in a variety of fashions. New York may have the marquee rotation, but when push comes to shove, the Dodgers have more man power.