Mets @ Dodgers September 3, 2018: Labor Day baseball

(Via)

After two straight dramatic comeback wins against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers (75-62) have now won eight of their last nine and are now tied for first place in the NL West with the Rockies who beat the Giants 9-8 earlier. The remnants of the celebratory Gatorade showers may not be completely dried out as they take on the Mets (61-75) in a three-game series to finish the homestand. Although the beleaguered Mets are 14.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East, and have had an abysmal season, they come into the series in LA having won two straight against the Giants. They’ll also have their ace Jacob deGrom on the mound for the series opener, one of the best pitchers in baseball this year and frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award.

Mets
Dodgers
5:10 PM
Los Angeles
SS
Rosario
LF
Pederson
CF
Jackson
3B
Turner
1B
Flores
SS
Machado
LS
Conforto
2B
Muncy
3B
Frazier
CF
Verdugo
RF
Bruce
1B
Bellinger
C
Mesoraco C Grandal
2B
McNeil
RF
Puig
P
deGrom
(R)
P
Wood (L)

It won’t be easy for the Dodgers’ offense on Monday when they face deGrom (8-8, 1.68 ERA, 2.02 FIP) who’s vying for the NL Cy Young Award. deGrom’s iconic locks are no longer, but his pitching prowess must not have been tied to his tresses after all since he’s having a career year. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in 24 consecutive starts, matching Dwight Gooden‘s single-season MLB record. deGrom’s also tied Tom Seaver with 19 straight quality starts, the most in Mets franchise history. He leads the majors in ERA (1.68) among all qualified starters, and he’s first in the NL in FIP (2.02), ERA+(218), strikeouts (224), HR/9 (0.40) and K/BB (5.46). He good.

Unfortunately for deGrom, the lack of run support he has received this season is reflected in his mediocre .500 W-L record. At one point, his teammates even apologized to him.

It’s just another example of how meaninglessness W-L records are for pitchers.

Speaking of wins, deGrom has yet to record a W against the Dodgers in the regular season in his career and is 0-4 against LA with a 3.43 ERA in seven starts. Of course we can’t forget the 2015 NLDS when deGrom allowed two runs in 13 innings and struck out 20 LA batters in Game 1 and Game 5, both losses for the Dodgers in the postseason series.

Yasiel Puig has taken deGrom deep twice, and Chris Taylor is 3-for-4 against him with a home run as well.

Alex Wood (8-6, 3.42 ERA, 3.50 FIP) is coming off a stellar start against the Rangers in Texas. He pitched seven scoreless frames, striking out five and walking two on 98 pitches. Although not on the same level of deGrom, Wood has been a solid starter for the Dodgers in the middle of their rotation with a 15 K-BB% overall and a 17 K-BB% against left-handers. He hasn’t surrendered a home run to a left-handed batter all season. The Mets are 15-22 and dead last in the majors vs. LHP (.222). Alas, the Dodgers are only faring slightly better offensively (.230) against southpaws, but somehow are 31-22 in games facing left-handed starters. That’s good for the most wins against LHP in the majors (tied with Houston).

Wood is 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA against the Mets in nine career regular season starts. He pitched a disastrous two-inning relief appearance in Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS in NY when he allowed four runs on four hits and walked two in the postseason loss. I apologize for bringing up that terrible game. The good news is that Wood is in a totally different place now in his Dodgers career, and the Mets are, well, not that good. I think we should see a much better result. Wood will have to be wary of Wilmer Flores who is 6-for-17 (.353) with two doubles and a home run against him.

Alex Verdugo starts in center field, batting fifth. It’s his first start for the Dodgers since July 27. He’s never faced deGrom, but he has a .809 OPS vs. RHP at the major league level.

——

Good news on Walker Buehler‘s foot.

Weird. They’re probably waiting to make him serve his suspension when the Dodgers are down to their most critical games.

——

In June, the Dodgers swept the three-game series against the Mets at Citi Field, but they shouldn’t take this series for granted. There’s only 25 games left for the Dodgers in the regular season and nine (!) home games remaining. Every matchup — down to each pitch — is important. Walk-off regular season wins are fun, but postseason Dodgers baseball is the most fun.

Let’s get deWin, boys.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.