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Mets will attempt to bolster their playoff chances against NL-leading Dodgers

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The Mets are coming off a four-game sweep but are now staring down the best team in the National League.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping two of three to the Philadelphia Phillies and appearing relatively dead (yet again), the New York Mets (76-70) rebounded with a big sweep to improve their playoff prospects. Now, they will try to hold serve at home and take down the Los Angeles Dodgers (95-53), who enter with the best record in the National League. New York dropped three out of four in Dodgers Stadium back in May.

The Mets took on an Arizona Diamondbacks squad that was coming off 12 wins in their last 14 games. All they did was sweep the western Wild Card hopefuls to boost their playoff chances while crushing their opponent’s odds. On Monday night, the team welcomed back Wilmer Flores with a wonderfully touching tribute video. Flores received a raucous ovation from the Flushing Faithful and hit a home run in his second at-bat. It was the only run Jacob deGrom would give up on the night, as he benefited from two Pete Alonso home runs to pick up his ninth win of the season.

On Tuesday, it was Todd Frazier who provided the offense with two doubles. He drove in all three runs as the Mets won their second straight. Meanwhile, Zack Wheeler pitched seven innings and navigated past traffic on the base paths all night to pick up the win. Things got scary in the ninth inning, but a clearly-tired Justin Wilson made it through by striking out Flores with runners on second and third and two outs to pick up the save.

After two tight games, the Mets’ offense erupted on Wednesday for nine runs and eleven hits on the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Frazier hit two home runs in the victory, as did Jeff McNeil. Brandon Nimmo also hit a home run. Steven Matz was solid outside of the second inning, where he walked three to lead off the frame but got out of it with a strikeout and a double play. From there, the team cruised to a third straight win against the previously unbeatable Diamondbacks. With the Chicago Cubs losing for the second straight night, the Mets narrowed the gap to two.

The Mets put the exclamation mark on a huge series sweep in a Thursday afternoon romp. For the second straight night, they hit five-plus home runs at home, marking the first time in franchise history that the team pulled off back-to-back five-plus homer games. On this afternoon, though, they set a franchise record by hitting their sixth in the late stages of the game. Frazier hit his third home run in less than 24 hours to give the team an early lead. Meanwhile, the Gary Cohen jinx is alive and well, as Juan Lagares hit a grand slam mere moments after the Mets’ broadcaster pointed out that he had never hit one. Later in the game, he noted that Lagares had never had a two homer game, and Lagares responded by hitting one out to the opposite field. Not wanting to be left out, Robinson Cano and Tomas Nido hit home runs of their own, with the latter coming right after Lagares’ second of the game. Michael Conforto added the record-breaking shot in the seventh. The home run barrage gave the team four 20-home run hitters for the first time since 2016.

After sitting out the Monday night game, Frazier had a big series against the Diamondbacks. In those three games, he picked up five hits in nine at-bats with three home runs, four runs scored, and seven runs batted in. With two more left-handed starters on the schedule against the Dodgers, Frazier figures to get more playing time to see if the team can ride his current hot streak. In 111 at-bats, Frazier is hitting .288/.368/.568 with eight home runs and a 145 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in 2019.

The Dodgers come into Citi Field as winners of three of their last four games after taking two out of three from the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Los Angeles clinched their seventh consecutive National League West title in the process, and they enter play today with the best record in the National League once again. There’s not much left to prove for the Dodgers, who have lost the last two World Series and are now pressured to finally break through and win their first title since 1988.

With Christian Yelich suffering an unfortunate season-ending injury, Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger now stands a great chance of coming away with the National League MVP award. On the year, he’s slashing .305/.408/.633 with a .328 ISO, a 162 wRC+, and a 7.2 fWAR. His wRC+, fWAR, and ISO trail just the aforementioned Yelich, while he comes in third in OPS behind Yelich and Anthony Rendon. The 2017 Rookie of the Year was selected to his second All Star game htis year and has set new career highs in home runs, runs batted in, hits, runs scored, and walks.

Their lineup also features a number of other threats that are not to be overlooked. Max Muncy enters Friday slashing .253/.375/.525 with 33 home runs, a 136 wRC+ and a 4.3 fWAR. Former Met Justin Turner is having another terrific season, hitting .291/.370/.514 with 27 home runs, a 132 wRC+, and a 3.4 fWAR. Meanwhile, Joc Pederson has posted a .247/.336/.530 slash line with 32 home runs, a 124 wRC+, and a 2.6 fWAR in 135 games.

Friday, September 13: Clayton Kershaw vs. Noah Syndergaard, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Kershaw (2019): 159.0 IP, 171 K, 36 BB, 24 HR, 3.06 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.05 WHIP

Kershaw is far from the pitcher he once was, but he’s still not someone to be taken lightly. He has been up-and-down since the All Star Break and is coming off two rough outings while taking the loss in each of his last three appearances. His last time out against the San Francisco Giants, he was charged with three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks in four innings pitched while needing 99 pitches to navigate through his start. Prior to that, he gave up five earned runs on five hits in five innings pitched. He’s seen his ERA climb from 2.84 on July 20 to 3.06 as he enters this game. He has been nothing short of dominant at Citi Field in his career, pitching to a 1.69 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 37.1 innings over six starts.

Syndergaard (2019): 175.0 IP, 176 K, 44 BB, 19 HR, 4.06 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.19 WHIP

Much of the talk heading into this start will be on the catching situation, as Syndergaard voiced his displeasure after his Sunday start with having to pitch to Wilson Ramos. The numbers clearly show that he’s better with anybody other than the team’s usual backstop behind the plate, but the Mets are opting to go with Ramos again on Friday night and seem disinterested in appeasing their starter. After a spectacular showing in Washington D.C., he was pedestrian in his last appearance, which evolved into the longest nine inning game in franchise history. His team gave him three runs to work with, and he gave it up with one run in the third, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth. Overall, he finished the afternoon allowing four earned runs on six hits with five strikeout and one walk in five innings.

Saturday, September 14: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Jacob deGrom, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Ryu (2019): 161.1 IP, 142 K, 24 BB, 15 HR, 2.45 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 1.06 WHIP

For a while, Ryu appeared on his way to a sub-2.00 ERA and an easy NL Cy Young win. Since lowering his ERA to 1.45 in his August 11 start, he has gotten blasted over his last four outings. In those starts, he has a 9.95 ERA and a 5.68 FIP with 21 strikeouts and 21 earned runs allowed in 19 innings. After giving up four earned runs in 5.2 innings against the Atlanta Braves on August 17, he gave up seven earned runs in back-to-back starts against the New York Yankees and the Diamondbacks. In his last start against the Colorado Rockies on September 4, he allowed three earned runs on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4.1 innings. He dominated the Mets on May 30, going 7.2 shutout innings while scattering four hits and striking out seven.

deGrom (2019): 183.0 IP, 231 K, 43 BB, 19 HR, 2.70 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 1.03 WHIP

After two pedestrian starts, deGrom was back to being the dominant Cy Young-caliber ace the Mets have come to expect. Aside from a Flores home run, he held the Diamondbacks in check over seven innings. He finished having allowed one earned run on three hits with eleven strikeouts and one walk in his start. In the process, he lowered his ERA to 2.70 as he continues to battle for his second consecutive Cy Young award. For the second time in three starts, he will face one of his biggest competitors for the prize in the left-handed Ryu. He faced the Dodgers earlier this year and was charged with two earned runs on seven hits with a season-low two strikeouts in five innings.

Sunday, September 15: Walker Buehler vs. Zack Wheeler, 7:05 p.m. on ESPN

Buehler (2019): 166.1 IP, 201 K, 28 BB, 18 HR, 3.14 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 1.02 WHIP

Buehler bounced back from a rough outing against the Rockies—one that still saw him pick up a victory despite allowing six earned runs on eight hits over five innings—by pitching seven shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles. He struck out 11 on the night and gave up just four hits to pick up his 13th win of the year. After finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting last year, Buehler was named to his first All Star game in 2019 and has put together a terrific sophomore campaign. The Mets roughed him up a bit in May, as he allowed five earned runs on seven hits over five innings.

Wheeler (2019): 173.1 IP, 170 K, 49 BB, 20 HR, 4.21 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 1.31 WHIP

Wheeler was wonderful on Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks to pick up his 11th win of 2019. While he gave up seven hits for the third consecutive starts, he was able to complete seven innings while allowing only one earned run. He struck out seven for the first time since his August 1 start while walking two. He got in and out of jams all night and was aided by a couple of well-timed double play balls.

Prediction: The Mets will drop two of three to the Dodgers.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    The Mets demolish the Dodgers in a three game sweep!
    (46 votes)
  • 50%
    New York closes out the homestand by taking two of three.
    (123 votes)
  • 16%
    The Mets stumble backwards as they drop the series to LA.
    (39 votes)
  • 8%
    The Mets are dumped by the Dodgers in a three-game sweep.
    (20 votes)
  • 6%
    Pizza!
    (15 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now