The Mets are faced with a daunting task in Los Angeles, but so are the Dodgers
Indeed, the Mets face a tall task of overcoming the two Dodger aces at the top of the rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
For the second time this season, the Mets will face both of them on back-to-back days at Dodger Stadium on Friday and Saturday night.
And while the Mets will be throwing out a pair of stud right-handers themselves in those games, David Wright respects the challenge which lies ahead for his club against the two Dodger horses.
“As deep as we are with our pitching, I don’t think anybody in baseball really has a Kershaw and a Greinke,” Wright explained late Sunday at Citi Field. “The pedigree, the accomplishments, you look at the back of the baseball cards of those two guys and that’s about as good as it gets.”
But Wright is confident the Mets ability to match them in game one and two of the Division Series, thanks to the quality of the Mets rotation.
“We’re going to throw out some good arms against them,” he said.
In other words, Wright doesn’t think it will be peaches and cream for the Dodgers, either.
Now, the Mets aren’t exactly swinging the bats very well heading into the playoffs, either. They’ve scored only two runs in their last 43 innings since the first inning last Wednesday against the Phillies. They’ve lost five of their last six games and won by the skin of their teeth on Sunday thanks to an eighth inning, solo home run from Curtis Granderson, who had three of the Mets five hits against the Nationals in game 162.
But Wright is confident this is merely a blip.
“I think we’ve proven we can be a good offensive team, so we’re not worried about it,” Wright said as he downplayed the recent offensive problems with the club.
The Mets do have one thing working for them right now.
They’re 24-8 on the road since July 25, scoring 226 runs in those 32 games, an average of 7.1 per game during that span.
Takeaway the three games against the Phillies, and they’re 24-5, scoring 218 runs in those 29 games, an average of over 7.5 runs per game from July 25-September 27. That’s compared to a 15-16 record at home during that span, scoring 3.8 runs per game in the process.
But they’ll have to carry that success away from Citi Field against two of the great pitchers in baseball this weekend in a place the Dodgers won a franchise-record 55 games in 2015.
The pitching match-ups are the one reason home field advantage would have indeed been advantageous for the Mets. The Dodgers are not remotely close to as good away from Dodger Stadium, and going back to Los Angeles to face Matt Harvey in a game three against one of their left-handers would unquestionably be advantageous for the Mets.
Of course, the Mets won a series from Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium July 4 weekend, that with a loss from Matt Harvey in the middle game of their three-game series against Greinke.
The Mets are also 2-2 in games started by Kershaw and Greinke this season, although neither of them figured in the decision.
None of that means anything when the bell rings Friday night in Southern California. The Mets cannot assume either will have poor outings, nor can the Dodgers assume deGrom and Syndergaard will be off their game, either.
So the Mets will need a buttoned up defense and take advantage of any opportunity either arm or the Dodgers defense gives them to convert runs, as they will undoubtedly be at a premium in the first two games of this pitching-heavy playoff series.
“Hopefully we make the plays and hopefully we’re a good situational team, because the chances you do get are probably going to be few and far between,” Wright explained. “So you’re going to hopefully take advantage of some mistakes and the few opportunities that you get.”
But if the Mets survive the two games in California, the Dodgers will be faced with a daunting task of their own next Monday in New York: beating Harvey in front of a sold out crowd.
So while the Mets may run into a road block with the front end of the Dodger rotation, the Dodgers don’t exactly have it so easy, either, no matter how this series is sliced up.