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Mets head to La La Land for a four-game set with the Dodgers

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The Mets will face early NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger and the two-time defending National League Champions.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets (26-26) will look to slow down the National League’s best team, the Los Angeles Dodgers (35-18), as they head west to begin a crucial seven-game road trip against the two-time defending National League champions. The Mets, who were swept in the season series by the Dodgers in 2017, lost four out of six to them in 2018, although they took two out of three in Dodgers Stadium. Overall, the Mets have lost 15 of their last 19 against Los Angeles.

After a dismal 1-5 road trip, the New York Mets are coming off a potentially season-saving 6-1 homestand. After sweeping the Washington Nationals in four games, the Mets began their three-game set against the Detroit Tigers with a demoralizing 9-8 loss. Noah Syndergaard was wildly ineffective, but the club battled back from a four-run deficit to take the lead multiple times, which included a go-ahead home run by Aaron Altherr in his first at-bat with the team. However, Detroit prevailed in the end after pushing three runs across the plate against Drew Gagnon.

On Saturday, the Mets got back in the win column in a long afternoon affair on Star Wars Day. The force was with Wilson Ramos, who had the team’s only three hits through the first half of the contest, including two home runs and a run-scoring single. While the Tigers doubled the Mets up in hits, the Mets triumphed when their back-up catcher Tomas Nido led off the 13th inning with a home run to right-center field. Both clubs failed to score earlier in extras with the bases loaded and one out.

After losing five previous rubber games this year, the Mets finally won one on Sunday as they dropped Detroit by a 4-3 score. Zack Wheeler gave the team another solid start while pitching into the eighth inning. Meanwhile, Adeiny Hechavarria played hero as he connected on a three-run home run in the fourth inning to put the team ahead for good. Hechavarria—not normally known for his power—also hit a three-run home run in Friday night’s game that put his team ahead briefly and capped off a four-run fourth in that game.

Saturday’s game was just a glimpse into how hot Ramos has been at the plate. With some of the team’s biggest bats out of the lineup—Robinson Cano, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto—Ramos has stepped up and produced like the team thought he would when they signed him to a two-year deal over the offseason. In his last 14 games, Ramos is slashing .381/.469/.690 with four home runs, a .310 ISO, and a 204 wRC+. After hitting just two home runs in his first 49 games this season, he has hit three in his last two starts. The aforementioned Conforto also made his return to the lineup on Sunday after missing nine games with a concussion and went hitless in three at-bats. Prior to his injury, he was hitting .275/.412/.525 with three home runs, a .275 ISO, and a 154 wRC+ in the month of May.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are scorching-hot after sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. They scored 28 runs in the three games while limiting the Pirates to 11. The Dodgers enter play on Monday as winners of 13 of their last 17 games. Los Angeles has been firing on all cylinders this year, ranking at the top of the National League in wRC+, offensive fWAR, and in ERA. The Dodgers has gotten steady offensive contributions from several players, including Justin Turner (.304/.396/.444, 132 wRC+. 1.1 fWAR), Alex Verdugo (.311/.362/.511, 133 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR), Max Muncy (.263/.354/.491, 126 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR), and Joc Pederson (.262/.365/.629, 160 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR).

Cody Bellinger has already established himself as a potential MVP candidate, hitting .386/.470/.755 with a .370 ISO and an astounding 216 wRC+ along with a career-best 4.2 fWAR. He has also emerged as a candidate to become the first National League Player to win the Triple Crown since Joe Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals did it in 1937. He currently leads all National League hitters in runs batted in and in batting average, while his 18 home runs rank second only to Christian Yelich’s 21 on the season.

Monday, May 27: Jacob deGrom vs. Clayton Kershaw, 8:10 p.m. on SNY

deGrom (2019): 58.0 IP, 75 K, 17 BB, 8 HR, 3.72 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 1.14 WHIP

deGrom wasn’t at his absolute best against the Nationals on Tuesday, but he kept his opponent off the board after serving up a solo home run in the first inning. At times, he appeared frustrated on the mound, but he battled through his issues and an inconsistent strike zone and struck out eight while walking three and allowing two hits over six innings. It was a nice recovery for deGrom, who previously got shellacked by the lowly Miami Marlins. The ace is still not quite pitching to the level that fans and the team expect of him, although he has overall been very effective during the month of May aside from that one start in Miami. In five starts this month, he owns a 2.81 ERA and a 3.07 FIP with a 24.8% strikeout rate and a 5.8% walk rate, with opposing batters posting a .561 OPS against him.

Kershaw (2019): 46.0 IP, 44 K, 8 BB, 7 HR, 3.33 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 0.98 WHIP

After an injury-ravaged 2018, Kershaw appears to be back on track after returning to action in mid-April this season. He has yet to lose a game this year while registering quality starts in six of his seven outings so far in 2019. He was especially impressive in his three April starts, but has struggled a bit more in May as he’s seen his strikeout rate drop from 28.8% to 22.1%. Overall in four May appearances, he’s posted a 4.15 ERA and a 4.29 FIP in 26 innings. In his last outing, he lasted 6.1 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays while allowing two earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. Kershaw is not quite the same pitcher who made seven consecutive All Star games from 2011-2017 and won the National League Cy Young in 2011, 2013, and 2014, but he’s still an extremely dangerous opponent and will make this a marquee Memorial Day pitching matchup to watch.

Tuesday, May 28: Steven Matz vs. Rich Hill, 10:10 p.m. on SNY

Matz (2019): 44.2 IP, 45 K, 13 BB, 9 HR, 3.63 ERA, 4.64 FIP, 1.37 WHIP

Matz had a really strange start against the Nationals on Thursday afternoon. He allowed a season-high 10 hits over six innings, yet he only allowed one earned run. He tip-toed around multiple baserunners in every inning and walked a tight rope act while escaping relatively unscathed. In the end, what mattered was the final number on the scoreboard, and he kept his team in the game enough for them to pull off another eighth-inning rally against Washington’s terrible bullpen. Matz currently owns the best ERA among Mets starting pitchers. If you were to subtract his one embarrassing April start against the Philadelphia Phillies, his ERA would drop to an even-more impressive 2.42.

Hill (2019): 27.0 IP, 31 K, 5 BB, 6 HR, 2.67 ERA, 4.47 FIP, 1.07 WHIP

After suffering a right knee sprain prior to the season and missing most of the first month of action, Hill has returned and been the mostly-effective pitcher that he has been throughout much of his time in Los Angeles. He has been especially good in his last two starts against the Cincinnati Reds and the Rays, as he’s combined to go 12 innings while allowing one earned run and striking out 17. The one knock against the 15-year veteran is that he’s allowed six home runs in his five starts.

Wednesday, May 29: Noah Syndergaard vs. Walker Buehler, 10:10 p.m. on SNY

Syndergaard (2019): 69.1 IP, 72 K, 15 BB, 10 HR, 4.93 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 1.27 WHIP

You may want to cover your nose while reading this, because Syndergaard’s last start stunk. Against a putrid offense in the Tigers, Syndergaard was tattooed for six earned runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings, including four in the first two frames. He put his team behind the eight ball early on and, despite their best efforts to battle back, they fell a bit short. It was an inexcusable outing for the right-hander who, up until that point, had put together a fine month of May. In his four previous starts, he pitched to a 2.40 ERA and a 3.40 FIP in 30 innings. Syndergaard will return to the park where he hit two home runs in one game back in May 2016.

Buehler (2019): 55.1 IP, 52 K, 11 BB, 5 HR, 3.58 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 1.05 WHIP

After finishing third in the 2018 Rookie of the Year voting, Buehler has picked up where he left off in 2019. Since getting lit up in two of his first three starts, he’s pitched to a 2.68 ERA and a 3.02 FIP in his last seven starts with a 24.1% strikeout rate and a fantastic 3.5% walk rate. In his last outing, he held the Pirates to one earned run on five hits over six strong innings of work on the road. He’s been especially efficient, averaging just under 91 pitches-per-game while averaging just under six innings—much of that has to do with his first three outings, in which he didn’t pitch past the fifth inning.

Thursday, May 30: Jason Vargas vs. Hyun-jin Ryu, 10:10 p.m. on SNY

Vargas (2019): 29.1 IP, 23 K, 15 BB, 5 HR, 5.22 ERA, 5.38 FIP, 1.57 WHIP

Vargas gave the Mets about as good a start as they could have expected on Saturday, as he pitched five innings while allowing one earned run against the Tigers. It was his first start since he landed on the Injured List with a hamstring injury following his May 5 outing, and it was the fourth time in his last five starts that he limited his opponent to one earned run. With no other options for the fifth starter’s role at the moment, the team will take these types of starts from Vargas in the meantime.

Ryu (2019): 65.1 IP, 62 K, 4 BB, 6 HR, 1.65 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 0.83 WHIP

Ryu has been simply spectacular in 2019 and currently sports the lowest ERA in the National League heading into this start against the Mets. He has been especially dominant in May, pitching to a sparkling 0.71 ERA and 1.73 FIP in five appearances. He did allow a season-high 10 hits in his last start and saw his run of three consecutive starts without allowing a run come to an end, but he still picked up the win for the fourth straight start. During the month, opponents have managed a minuscule .429 OPS against Ryu. He has been especially tough on the Mets in his career, posting a 1.66 ERA in six starts against them.

Prediction: The Mets succumb to baseball’s best as they drop three out of four.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Dodgers?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    The Mets are living large in Los Angeles as they sweep the Dodgers.
    (12 votes)
  • 7%
    The Mets take care of business as they take three of four for the NL’s best.
    (14 votes)
  • 38%
    The Mets earn a split in LA.
    (69 votes)
  • 23%
    The Mets steal one but end up on the losing side of things at Dodgers Stadium.
    (41 votes)
  • 11%
    The Mets are left seeing stars as they’re swept in four games.
    (20 votes)
  • 11%
    Pizza!
    (21 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now