The New York Mets will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the National League Playoff series Friday Night in Los Angeles. The Mets finished the season with a 90-72 record and the Dodgers were 92-70. This is experience, (this is the first time in the Dodgers history that they have made the playoffs 3 years in a row) vs youth. The Mets haven’t played in the post-season since 2006. Both teams went 5-5 in their last 10 games but you can kind of throw those stats out. Once a team clinches the playoffs, they don’t play their starters all that much and they coast through the remaining games.
The Mets clearly have an advantage on offense. Since the All-Star break the Mets are 6th in the National league in batting average (.256) and the Dodgers are 12th (.248). New York was also first in homeruns and doubles, during the second half of the season (102 HR’s 157 Doubles). “The Amazins” have 5 players on their roster who can carry a team on their back for a series. Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, and Lucas Duda are all capable of hitting 25 homeruns during the season.
The series is loaded with exceptional starting pitching. Zach Greinke (MLB-best 1.66 ERA) Clayton Kershaw (MLB-high 301 Ks) Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey all ranked among the top six National League qualifiers in ERA. The Mets have tremendous depth with Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24, 166 Ks, 150 IP) and Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27 in 6 starts). Most experts have stated that the Dodgers have the advantage here but to quote ESPN’s Lee Corso…”Not so fast my friend.” Kershaw has struggled in the post-season. He is 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in six playoff series since 2008. The Mets pitching staff has no playoff experience so they haven’t been tested. But when they swept the Washington Nationals to take over first place in early August, Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard struck out 25 Nationals and walked 1 in a three game series. This pitching staff threw 1500 more fastballs than any other team in the major leagues during the regular season and are one of the greatest staffs in the history of baseball in strike outs to walk ratio.
The Mets may have to do something they haven’t done all year and that is manufacture runs or play “small ball” The Mets live and die by the Homerun but they will have to make some sacrifice bunts late in games and try and squeak out a 2-1 victory. Look for rookie Michael Conforto to play a huge role when he is in the game.
I like the Mets offense and their depth in pitching. I think New York is a year ahead of schedule but we are looking at one of the most dominating pitching staffs to come around in a long time. They are young and inexperienced but they are ready for the challenge. Jeurys Familia had 43 saves and Tyler Clippard has been a very good setup man. Adding Bartolo Colon (14 wins) and Jonathon Niese to a suspect bullpen should help, if the Mets starters can’t deliver. Mets have too much pitching, depth and too much offense.
I like the Mets in 4 games… As Howie Rose says on the Mets radio broadcast… PUT IT IN THE BOOKS!
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