Dodgers @ Mets May 28, 2016: Maeda vs. Thor, round 2

Last time Kenta Maeda faced Noah Syndergaard, things didn’t go so well for the Dodgers righty. Syndergaard practically singlehandedly won that game for the Mets, homering off of Maeda twice and driving in all four New York runs in the process.

The first home run came off of an 89 MPH fastball:

via Baseball Savant: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/videos?video_id=685669183
via Baseball Savant

The second home run was off of an 80 MPH slider:

via Baseball Savant: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/videos?video_id=686047483
via Baseball Savant
Dodgers
Mets
4:15 p.m. PT
New York
2B
Utley
RF
Granderson
SS
Seager
SS
Cabrera
3B
Turner
LF
Conforto
1B
Gonzalez
CF
Cespedes
RF
Thompson
2B
Walker
CF
Pederson
1B
Campbell
LF
Kendrick
3B
Kelly
C
Grandal
C
Rivera
P
Maeda (R)
P
Syndergaard (R)

Both pitches were left hanging over the inside part of the plate, and Syndergaard missed neither. Hopefully, Kenta’s figured out that he ought not to throw the ball there when Syndergaard’s up to bat.

Unfortunately, Maeda has problems beyond just Noah Syndergaard. In his first six starts of the season, Maeda delivered at least six innings, and his ERA was a tiny 1.66. But in his last three outings — including his start vs. the Mets at Dodger Stadium — Maeda failed to go beyond five innings (and, in fact, only made it through four in his start against the Angels). He also gave up four earned runs in each of those appearances.

Julio Urias only made it through two and two-thirds innings in his MLB debut yesterday, which meant a long night for the Dodger bullpen, as five different relievers pitched. For their sake, it would obviously be preferable if Maeda could get through more innings this time around than he has his last few times out.

On that note, the Dodgers will have a fresh arm in their bullpen tonight, in the form of RHP Casey Fien:

Urias will return to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where Fien has made six appearances since the Dodgers acquired him earlier this month. In seven and two-thirds innings of work, Fien has allowed five earned runs, and he’s struck out nine batters while walking two. You can read what our own Daniel Brim says to expect from Fien here.

Now, we’ve discussed Syndergaard as a hitter, but we should probably take a look at Syndergaard as a pitcher, too. Syndergaard delivered eight innings of two-run ball in his start at Dodger Stadium. Those two runs came off of solo shots by Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal. Those dingers were sort of unusual for Syndergaard, who’s given up just three home runs in his 60.1 IP this season.

On the whole, Syndergaard has been scary good. He’s striking out batters at a rate of 32.6%, which ranks third-best among MLB starting pitchers (behind Jose Fernandez, 36.7%, and Clayton Kershaw, 33.7%). He also has a very low walk rate of 3.9%. He’s not unhittable, despite his terrifying velocity (98 MPH fastballs and sinkers!). But that velocity sure has to be intimidating to a batter.

Howie Kendrick is starting in left field for the third straight game. We can question whether or not Kendrick should be starting in the outfield while Yasiel Puig sits on the bench, and we can question whether Kendrick has any business serving as an outfielder at all. However, at least we know he’s not looking at his phone out there:

David Wright, who homered off of Chris Hatcher yesterday, is out of the lineup for the Mets dealing with a stiff neck.

In other news, the Mets acquired former Dodger James Loney today, but it looks the Dodgers won’t be seeing him this series:

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for MLB.com. She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.