Mets @ Dodgers June 2, 2022: Four game series between the top two teams in the NL

One of the most prominent matchups in all of baseball thus far into this season is likely this four game series between the Mets and the Dodgers. The Mets (35-17) currently own the best record in the National League over the Dodgers (33-17), and are second only to the New York Yankees (35-15). The Mets have been impressive, especially as of late, riding a six-game winning streak coming into this series, recently sweeping the Phillies (22-29) and the Nationals (18-34). The Dodgers just got swept by the Pirates (22-27) at home, not that anyone needed a reminder.

It would be classic Dodgers baseball if they managed to get swept at home by a team like the Pirates, and ended up easily beating the Mets. Not that that’s likely to happen, but it seems they do tend to play down to the competition. Tony Gonsolin has been excellent this season, and will be on the mound to start this game, up against the right-handed Taijuan Walker.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
CF Nimmo (L) RF Betts
RF Marte 1B Freeman (L)
SS Guillorme (L) SS T. Turner
1B Alonso C Smith
2B McNeil (L) DH Ríos (L)
LF Canha 3B J. Turner
3B Escobar (S) CF Bellinger (L)
DH Davis LF Taylor
C Mazeika (L) 2B Lux (L)
P Walker (R) P Gonsolin (R)

For the Mets, Pete Alonso has been their best full time regular offensively, with a 148 wRC+ and .891 OPS, with 47 RBI, leading the National League. Jeff McNeil has been great, hitting .318, with a 140 wRC+, Brandon Nimmo has also been really good, with a 137 wRC+, as have Francisco Lindor (126), Mark Canha (126), and Starling Marte (124). In classic Mets fashion however, it appears that Lindor slammed his finger in his hotel room door last night or this morning, and will be out of the lineup for at least tonight.

The Dodgers will put out what is likely their best overall offensive lineup, with Edwin Rios (129 wRC+) at DH and Justin Turner at third base. Cody Bellinger is back in the starting lineup after three days off with a minor hip issue. He has a 108 wRC+ and .731 OPS against RHP this year, so it makes sense to get him back into the lineup tonight.

Mookie Betts had a ridiculous May, slashing .342/.411/.746, for a 1.156 OPS and 218 wRC+. He started June off well despite the loss, going 3-for-5 with a two-run home run last night. His 3.5 fWAR currently has him as the best player in baseball. He has the same amount of home runs as Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy combined.

Trea Turner is on a 24 game hitting streak dating back to 5/9, and has slashed .347/.406/.579 during this stretch, good for a .985 OPS and 177 wRC+. Justin Turner is also on the upswing, slashing .303/.369/.566, a .935 OPS and 163 wRC+ since 5/10. Similar to the others, Chris Taylor is hitting .278/.373/.556 since 5/12, a .929 OPS and 159 wRC+. That comes with an acceptable 25.3% strikeout rate, compared to 39.2% over his first 26 games.

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Here’s a brief look at the two offenses as a whole.

Should be an exciting series, featuring the two best offenses in baseball.

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Additionally, here’s how the starting pitchers for tonight compare.

Walker (3-0) earned the win his last time out, going five innings and allowing two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out just one against the Phillies. He allowed a handful of baserunners, but the Phillies were never able to muster up anything significant. As has been the trend for him this year, he recorded only six swinging strikes and managed to only get one strikeout for the third time this season. That puts him in a rare area with a low ERA compared to how few batters he’s been able to strikeout. He has just 19 strikeouts and 12 walks in 35 innings pitched. Not where you want to be. That’s the ninth lowest strikeout rate of 142 starters with at least 30 innings pitched. He has a 21.2% strikeout rate in his career, and had 146 strikeouts in 159 innings pitched last year. I’ll be entirely honest, I’m not sure what’s going on with that.

He’s made seven starts, and was hit hard in his third start, allowing six earned runs in four innings against the Phillies. In his four starts since, he has just a 1.88 ERA. Walker theoretically has six pitches, with his four-seamer, splitter, slider, curve, cutter, and sinker, however he mainly sticks to three, with his fastball at 35%, his splitter at 27%, and his slider at 14%, with the other three pitches making up the final quarter of his arsenal. He’s down about a tick on his fastball from last year, averaging 93.7 MPH this year, still a very respectable speed, with his splitter in the high 80’s, and his slider in the mid 80’s.

Gonsolin earned his fifth win of the season last time out against Arizona, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits and no walks while striking out seven batters. He gave up a pair of runs early, but managed to stop the bleeding there and continued his streak of great outings. He’s now struck out exactly seven batters for the third straight game and has thrown exactly six innings in each of those. He’s yet to allow more than two runs in an outing this season, leading to that shiny 1.80 ERA over 45 innings. Among pitchers who’ve thrown at least 45 innings, his 1.80 ERA is the lowest in the National League.

Gonsolin has made nine starts this year, and has now logged six innings in four of those starts, after having done so just five other times in his career. Over his last six starts, Gonsolin has 36 strikeouts to just nine walks in 32.0 innings pitched, with a 0.81 WHIP. He issued four walks in five innings against the Pirates early in May, but over his last three starts has 21 strikeouts and just 3 walks, a 32.3% strikeout rate and 4.6% walk rate. Now unfortunately, a 1.80 ERA is not sustainable for him right now, but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been and can’t continue to be great. He has a .136 BABIP with runners in scoring position, and .159 in general with runners on. The only thing that’s ever really held him back is issuing walks. If he can continue to keep those in control, even with some natural regression he’ll still be a great pitcher.

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It’ll be tough to keep this going as the Mets are much better now, but it’d be nice if they could.

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Glad to have Caleb Ferguson back. Hopefully he’s back for good.

This really sucks for Kevin Pillar. There was always the chance he could end up DFA when Muncy returned, so maybe there’s a silver lining and he can stay with the organization for longer? Anyways, Zach McKinstry is slashing .338/.424/.464. If he could do some of that in LA that would be great.

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Muncy should be on his way back soon. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Ríos, Justin Turner, Hanser Alberto, Max Muncy group when they’re all healthy. It’s a good problem.

This is good news for Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney as well.

The Mets.

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First pitch is at 7:10 PM PDT on SNLA.

About Allan Yamashige

Just a guy living in Southern California, having a good time writing about baseball. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about it rules. Thanks for reading!