The Dodgers return home after a very successful Ohio road trip. They won five out of six including another sweep of the Reds. The Dodgers currently have the second best record in the National League yet are still one game behind Colorado in the NL West because Colorado has the best record in the National League.
The Dodgers kick off a nine game home stand with a four game set against the New York Mets. The Mets have been a mess this year. Remember that Gotham pitching apocalypse the Mets had a couple of years ago that led them to a World Series appearance? Well that pitching staff has been riddled with injuries and the Mets have sunk back into a losing club. Right now the Mets are 31-37 and stand 10.5 games behind Washington in the NL East. The Mets are 16-19 on the road in 2017.
The injuries to the New York roster have been devastating. Former ace Matt Harvey has been in the news with on and off the field problems. As of right now he’s on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder. Flame thrower Noah Syndergaard is out indefinitely with a torn lat muscle. Closer Jeurys Familia is still recovering from arm surgery and probably won’t return for another couple of months. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is out with a thumb strain and second baseman Neil Walker is on the disabled list with a hamstring tear. Captain David Wright hasn’t played at all this season after discovering that he has a herniated disk in his back.
With all the problems the Mets have had they’ve still gotten a productive season from outfielder Jay Bruce. Yoenis Cespedes has had his injury problems but is finally healthy and batting .322. Michael Conforto is having a solid year as well. What the Mets do well is hit home runs. They’ve slugged 100 this year which ranks them sixth out of the 30 MLB clubs. However their on-base and batting have been poor and they have little to no speed in their lineup. However they have hit .279 with runners in scoring position which places them in the top ten in baseball. The Dodgers are hitting .263, which ranks them ninth.
Their pitching has been the problem. The New York staff has a 4.84 ERA and .269 batting average against which ranks them 25 in MLB. Their starters have been awful (4.86 ERA) and their bullpen (4.81 ERA) equally as bad. The New York defense also ranks as one of the worst in the National League.
The first game will see Zack Wheeler opposing Clayton Kershaw. Wheeler has had blister problems of his own and has posted a 4.48 ERA in 64.1 innings pitched. His strikeouts have decreased from 9.1 per nine in 2014 to 8.3 this year. Of course if you remember he missed two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s had issues with command (4.1 BB per nine) and has given up 9.1 hits per nine innings.
He has almost no experience against the Dodgers. The boys in blue are (5 for 24) against him with two home runs.
Wheeler vs. Dodgers
Kershaw hasn’t seemed quite as dominant as he usually is but that’s another world compared to normal pitchers. Kershaw is still Kershaw and he’s coming off a good outing against Cleveland. The ace southpaw is 9-2 with a league leading 2.23 ERA in 97 innings pitched. He’s struck out 105 and walked only 16. He has given up an unusually high 13 home runs this year.
Kershaw has dominated the Mets throughout his career so this is as safe a bet as any to say that the Dodgers will win tonight. In 11 career starts Kershaw is 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Mets. He’s struck out 84 over 77 frames and has never lost to them. The Mets are hitting just .175 against Kershaw with 39 strikeouts. Jay Bruce has hit a couple of home runs and that’s about it.
Kershaw vs. Mets
The pitching match-ups for the rest of the series will look like this…..
Game 3- The Mets haven’t announced their starter for the third game. The Dodgers are scheduled to give the ball to Rich Hill (3-3 5.14)
Arizona and Colorado will face off against each other starting tonight in Denver. So this is a great opportunity for the Dodgers to gain some ground while those two clubs beat up on each other. The Dodgers and Arizona are tied for second place with identical records, and both one game behind Colorado.
According to our friends at Numberfire, the Dodgers have a 98.4% chance to make the playoffs. In their weekly power rankings they rank the Dodgers third out of the 30 MLB clubs.