Don Mattingly’s kind words for the Mets power-armed starting rotation
Throughout the week, the story for the Mets is how they might possibly overcome the challenge of defeating Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke potentially two times a piece in their best of five Division Series, which begins on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
But for the Dodgers, they’re faced with an equally, if not greater task of beating three or maybe even four elite young pitchers in the game themselves.
And Don Mattingly himself feels the Dodgers will have some difficultly against the likes of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz throughout the five-game series.
“Those guys are really good,” Mattingly told the Daily News. “We’ve been looking at them for the last couple of days and even before that. … These are some power arms with secondary pitches. They aren’t just guys going up there and chucking the fastball.
“Everybody in the league now throws 96-97-98 (mph). We see it all the time. So that’s not what makes them different. It’s the secondary stuff that makes them really good. They’ve got great arms and they’re in a good position, not only now but for the future, with those type of arms. That’s what you build your team around. So we know we have our hands full, but with that being said, we’ll have a game plan for each guy.”
Game plans only go so far, however. And that goes for both teams. That’s not to say it can be predicted each of the six headliner pitchers will be spot on in each of their outings, but it can never be assumed they’ll make enough mistakes to be beaten, either.
Kershaw will be matched with deGrom in game one, but Mattingly and Collins have positioned both to be brought back on short rest in game four at Citi Field. Both Syndergaard and Greinke can pitch on regular rest in game five at Dodger Stadium, if such a game is needed.
But Matt Harvey will pitch in game three against LHP Brett Anderson, who went 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA.
The Mets decided to pitch Harvey in game three not only to limit his appearances (and temptation) to have him pitch twice in the Division Series, but to also have him pitch in what is widely considered to be the most pivotal game in a playoff series.
But while the Dodgers could be mismatched on paper against Harvey and the Mets in game three, Mattingly was comfortable with his selection to go with Anderson.
“We pretty much all assumed that Brett was our No.3 guy … He’s really done a nice job for us all year,” Mattingly said.
Anderson went 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 180 1/3 innings in 2015. Opponents hit .278 against Anderson who, when he’s on, doesn’t strike out a lot of batters but induces a lot of ground balls.
The Mets did not face Anderson in 2015.
But first, the Mets – and the Dodgers for that matter – have to get to game three which might seem very distant for one club depending on how Friday’s contest in Chavez Ravine goes.