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Mets welcome dominant Dodgers to Citi Field for weekend showdown

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This game begins a stretch of 13 straight against the Dodgers and Giants that will make or break the team’s season.

MLB: AUG 11 Dodgers at Phillies Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Mets (59-55) prepare for a battle against one of the National League’s toughest squads as they host the Dodgers (69-46) for three games. This series will be the beginning of 13 straight games for New York against the Dodgers and the Giants, which will be a huge test and a make-or-break stretch as they try to claw their way back into first place in the NL East. The Mets haven’t faced the Dodgers since 2019, when they dropped five out of seven against L.A. They have won a grand total of one (1) game against the Dodgers at Citi Field dating back to 2017, and had a nine-game losing streak against them at home until their win on September 14, 2019.

The Mets finally did what they were supposed to and beat a team that was begging to be beaten, sweeping the Nationals in a series that featured a suspended game, a postponed game, and a walk-off homer. The series got off to a rough start, as Carlos Carrasco surrendered a three-run shot to Juan Soto three batters into Tuesday night’s affair. The Mets cut a run off that lead as the dark clouds rolled in. As Carrasco surrendered another single in the second, the thunder loudly signaled the end of play, and a comically-long 20-and-a-half hour rain delay followed. When resumed the next day, the two sides went back-and-forth before the Mets finally pulled ahead with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Edwin Díaz closed the door in the ninth for a much-needed 8-7 win to end the club’s four-game skid.

The Mets and Nationals were all set to play a second game, but more inclement weather came in, which forced a single-admission doubleheader on Thursday. In the first game, Brandon Nimmo hit a three-run homer and added a run-scoring single which accounted for all the offense for the Mets. New York did have 12 hits on the afternoon, but the team went 2-for-9 with RISP and left seven on overall. Marcus Stroman battled the intense heat and was terrific through five before tiring in the sixth, but Aaron Loup and Díaz recorded the final five outs in the 4-1 win.

The Mets closed out the sweep with a dramatic 5-4 win in the second game. The offense was mostly quiet against Erick Fedde until the bats pushed two runs across in the fourth. Trevor Williams made his Mets debut and was solid through four before giving up a run in the fifth. Seth Lugo recorded five outs after Williams’ exit, and Jonathan Villar added a two-run homer for some much-needed insurance. Those two runs turned out to be huge, as Trevor May loaded the bases before Jeurys Familia came in to try and clean up his mess. Some wild pitches and a bad job by Jeff McNeil in the field resulted in three runs coming home. Pete Alonso saved the day by popping a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the frame against Kyle Finnegan.

One positive of late has been Michael Conforto, who has finally start to come around. He contributed four hits across the two games yesterday afternoon, and is now slashing .346/.433/.538 with one homer, a team-high six runs, a 167 wRC+, and a 0.3 fWAR over his last eight games dating back to August 4. In that span, Jonathan Villar has also been a valuable piece with Javier Báez missing time due to his injury and Francisco Lindor still out of the lineup. In eight games, Villar is hitting .300/.300/.600 with a team-leading three homers, a 141 wRC+, and a 0.3 fWAR. J.D. Davis, who had three more base hits yesterday, has also started to pick it up, as he’s posted a .333/.478/.500 slash line with a 173 wRC+ and a 0.3 fWAR in his last eight games.

Entering play tonight, the Mets trail the first-place Phillies by a skinny half-game, so they managed to gain two games in the standings since leaving Philadelphia. With the Braves earning two wins in three games against the Reds, the Mets moved back into second in the National League East. The next 13 games will quite possibly determine the team’s fate. If the Mets can whether the storm and hold their ground against the two toughest teams in the National League, they should come out of the other end of the stretch in good shape, with 15 straight games against the Nationals and the pesky-but-still-beatable Marlins awaiting them. However, if they let the Dodgers and Giants walk all over them, it could mean the end of their playoff dreams.

The Dodgers come into this game winners of five of their last seven and six of eight overall in August. They just came off a series win against the Phillies, which did the Mets a huge favor, although they could not quite complete the sweep yesterday as they fell 2-1. Los Angeles currently has an MLB-best +181 run differential, which is a stark contrast from the Mets’ -13 run differential. Still, even with that, they still trail the first-place Giants by five games in the National League West heading into play tonight.

The Mets will miss Mookie Betts during this series (and possibly the next series) as he has been placed on the injured list with a hip injury. Betts was second on the club with a 143 wRC+ while slashing .277/.378/.521 with a 3.3 fWAR in 87 games. The current wRC+ leader on the team, Max Muncy, is hitting .268/.401/.536 with a team-leading 23 homers, a 153 wrC+, and a team-best 4.2 fWAR in 98 games. Chris Taylor has also put together a solid year for Los Angeles, hitting .279/.369/.482 with 17 homers, a 133 wRC+, and a 3.6 fWAR in a team-high 110 games.

Justin Turner, who has been having another good season for the Dodgers, is struggling in August, posting a .227/.292/.318 slash line with a 72 wRC+ in six August games. Taylor has also struggled this month, with an 83 wRC+ in nine August games. Cody Bellinger, meanwhile, has been raging hot as the weather has warmed up this month, slashing .286/.355/.786 with a team-leading four home runs, a 197 wRC+, and a 0.5 fWAR in eight August games. A.J. Pollock has also been on fire, hitting .457/.486/.657 with a team-high nine runs batted in over nine games in August.

Friday, August 13: Julio Urías vs. Tylor Megill, 7:10 p.m. on WPIX

Urías (2021): 134.2 IP, 144 K, 28 BB, 17 HR, 3.41 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 1.08 WHIP, 2.1 bWAR

Urías has put together the finest season of his major league career. The 25-year-old currently leads all qualified National League starting pitchers in wins while ranking second behind only Corbin Burnes in BB/9 (1.87), 10th in K-BB% (21.3%), and 12th in K/9 (9.62). In his prior start against the Angels, he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits over five innings. Surprisingly, he did walk three batters while also striking out five. Over his last four appearances, he owns a 1.59 ERA, a 2.34 FIP, a 1.01 WHIP, a 24.7% K% and a 4.5% BB% in 22.2 innings.

Megill (2021): 45.0 IP, 48 K, 12 BB, 7 HR, 3.20 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 0.9 bWAR

Megill was cruising in his last start against the Phillies, until he wasn’t. The rookie right-hander scattered two hits over his first four innings and looked to be in the process of putting together a solid start, but he fell apart in the fifth and couldn’t escape the frame. First, he gave up an impressive bomb to Brad Miller, and later in the inning Odúbel Herrera teed off on him for a titanic three-run blast. In total, he allowed the four earned runs on five hits, with one walk and five hits in 4.2 innings. It was the first time he gave up multiple homers in a single start in his major league career. On the season, 15 of the 17 runs he’s given up (88%) have come via the long ball. That will be a problem against the Dodgers, who have hit the fifth-most homers in baseball this season.

Saturday, August 14: Walker Buehler vs. Taijuan Walker, 7:10 p.m. on WPIX

Buehler (2021): 147.2 IP, 152 K, 38 BB, 13 HR, 2.13 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, 4.9 bWAR

Buehler has been a force in the Dodgers’ rotation since he finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, but he has put together his finest season to date in 2021. The 27-year-old leads the NL with a 2.13 ERA, and has put together a fantastic six-start stretch. Since his July 10 start against the Diamondbacks, he has posted a 1.14 ERA, a 1.96 FIP, a 0.97 WHIP, and a 29.4% K% in 39.1 innings. In his last outing against the Angels, he struck out eight while allowing one earned run on four hits over six innings to earn his 12th win of the season.

Walker (2021): 111.0 IP, 102 K, 41 BB, 16 HR, 3.89 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR

Walker had his best start since before the All Star break on Sunday, but it didn’t matter against Zack Wheeler’s dominance. The right-hander turned in his first quality start since June 15 against the Cubs, going six innings and allowing three runs on four hits. He only struck out one, but he also only walked one. It was the first time the All Star went at least six innings in a start since June 20. The problem was that he served up three solo home runs, and has now allowed ten home runs in four starts after giving up six in his first 17. The long ball continues to plague him in the second half, and is very likely a sign of fatigue after a heavy workload after throwing only 67.1 innings in the past three seasons.

Sunday, August 15: Max Scherzer vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:08 p.m. on ESPN

Scherzer (2021): 121.1 IP, 163 K, 29 BB, 19 HR, 2.67 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 0.89 WHIP, 3.0 bWAR

The Mets have been able to avoid Scherzer all year against the Nationals, but they won’t get so lucky now as they get to face him as a member of the Dodgers. The imposing right-hander was dealt along with Trea Turner at the deadline, and has been great for his new club so far. In his debut, he tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Astros to pick up his ninth win of the season. In the game, he allowed five hits, walked one, and punched out ten batters. His last start against the Phillies was cut short by rain after he tossed 3.1 shutout innings. He has enjoyed a lot of success against the Mets, picking up 12 wins in 24 career appearances against them, with a 2.70 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and 198 strikeouts in 150 innings.

Carrasco (2021): 9.1 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 2 HR, 6.75 ERA, 4.68 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, -0.2 bWAR

Like Scherzer, Carrasco’s last start was cut short by rain. Unlike Scherzer, Carrasco was not effective before the rain rolled in. With dark clouds looming overhead, Carrasco allowed the first two Nationals’ batters to reach before serving up an opposite-field, three-run homer to Soto. He was able to escape that inning without further damage, but allowed a single to start the second before the game was suspended. Hill allowed that run to come home, which closed the book on Carrasco. In all, he gave up four earned over one-plus inning. He only threw 33 pitches, so he did not have the opportunity to stretch out further, which means he’s likely still at a 65-75 pitch limit in this outing.

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

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    The Mets pull off a stunning sweep against the Dodgers!
    (24 votes)
  • 27%
    The Mets take two of three to end the home stand on a high note.
    (47 votes)
  • 31%
    The Mets steal a game, but drop two.
    (55 votes)
  • 16%
    The Mets are overpowered by Los Angeles in a three-game sweep.
    (29 votes)
  • 9%
    Pizza!
    (17 votes)
172 votes total Vote Now