Takeaways from the Mets 3-1 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday…
The Mets lost game four of their National League Division Series to the Dodgers by the score of 3-1 on Tuesday night at Citi Field, tying their best-of-five series at two apiece to send the series back to Dodger Stadium.
Here are my takeaways from the loss…
Kershaw’d back to Los Angeles.
When Clayton Kershaw is on, the opposition has to simply match him pound-for-pound.
And on Tuesday, Kershaw was indeed on and had the Mets totally befuddled. But they did not match the Dodger ace pound-for-pound and came up a bit short in game four.
They now have to pack their bags for Los Angeles for a one game do-or-die situation on Thursday in Chavez Ravine.
The Mets basically had no offense against Kershaw, who was spot on despite pitching on only three-days rest. He made one mistake to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning, but he completely wiped out the Mets in a spectacular series-saving effort. He moved the ball up and down, in and out, and while he didn’t have that good curveball working, he had pinpoint control of everything else and the Mets were just totally lost.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t a pleasant evening for Matz on Tuesday who had to battle his way through five innings thanks to a simple lack of command. The Dodgers had a good game plan against him to wait him out and get into a lot of hitters counts, and they capitalized with a crooked number in the second inning to quiet the Citi Field crowd and give the Dodgers an intimidating three-run lead.
What’s worse, the Dodgers scored all three runs with two outs thanks to an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single and a two-run double by new Mets nemesis Justin Turner.
That was all Kershaw and the Dodgers needed to get this series back to Los Angeles and leave the Mets a little nervous as they’re now also staring elimination right in the face. In this case, there wasn’t much for the Mets to do except tip their cap to a fantastic performance by the best pitcher in baseball.
The Mets only chance in this one came in the eighth inning when Kershaw was finally out of the game. They had two on and two out with Daniel Murphy at the plate, but he flew out to right field to end their only real threat of the night.
It certainly was a tip of the cap performance to Kershaw, but in a playoff scenario, that’s a tough pill to swallow.
It was a good, clean game. Just a bad result at a bad time for the Mets.
Not exactly Matzian.
Matz started off just fine in this one, working quickly and throwing strikes with his fastball and change-up, but he just totally lost his feel for his entire repertoire in the third inning when he allowed three consecutive two-out hits and three runs on top of that to put the Mets in an early 3-0 hole.
From that point on, it was a real slog for Matz, as his pitch count began to rise quickly and he had to battle traffic in both the fourth and fifth innings before calling it a night.
He just couldn’t hit his spots, his fastball velocity diminished as the game went on, and his location was up on everything, particularly in the third inning when the Dodgers inflicted major damage.
It’s worth considering Matz was dealing with a lot of rust after not pitching for 2 1/2 weeks after dealing with the back injury. Sure, he threw 90-100 pitches in Port St. Lucie last week, but that’s so far removed than the intensity and caliber of playoff baseball.
Haunting the Mets.
Justin Turner is just killing the Mets in this series. Absolutely destroying them.
He delivered a big two-run double with two outs in the third inning which was the difference in this ballgame for the Mets.
Turner now has seven hits in four games in this series to go along with three RBI.
He also made a hell of a sliding stab at third base to rob Wilmer Flores of a two-out extra-base hit with Yoenis Cespedes on first. A brilliant play, albeit very, very aggravating.
It’s only fitting Turner would crush the Mets too. But he is thriving under the spotlight this week all at the expense of his former club, as he has helped pace the Dodgers in the two wins they have, and certainluy a big part of how they were able to tie this series up and get it to a fifth game.
Nobody ever said this was going to be easy. And, its a tall order beating Kershaw twice in a playoff series. Unfortunately for the Mets they were not up to the task on Tuesday.
They’ll now head back across the country for a one-game showdown in Los Angeles against Zack Greinke at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night. The Mets are countering with Jacob deGrom, but both teams will have all hands on-deck as they attempt to play on against the Cubs in the National League Championship Series beginning Saturday night.
Both teams have a huge mountain to climb, but the Dodgers certainly have to be feeling good about themselves heading into Thursday’s game, with the Mets needing to now figure out a way to win one more game on the road in what should be a hostile environment.
Other notes from Tuesday:
For the second time in franchise history, the Mets will play a fifth game in a five-game playoff series. The last time the Mets played a fifth and deciding game in a playoff series was in the 1973 NLCS.
Lucas Duda is now 2-for-14 with nine strikeouts in his first four postseason games after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Tuesday.
The Mets struck out eight more times on Tuesday – they’ve now struck out 43 times in the four games against the Dodgers.
Murphy was the only runner to reach third base for the Mets in this game when he hit his fourth inning solo home run.