Mets @ Dodgers June 3, 2022: Bassitt vs. Anderson

After a rough three game sweep at home against the Pirates (22-27), the Dodgers (34-17) responded promptly by beating the Mets (35-18) 2-0 in the first of four games against them. Tony Gonsolin was great against a potent Mets’ offense, going six shutout innings allowing just three baserunners. His 1.59 ERA is now third in baseball and first in the NL, his batting average allowed is the lowest by far at .159, and his 0.88 WHIP is fifth, while his 6-0 record is tied with tonight’s starter, Tyler Anderson (6-0) for the best in baseball. Good stuff. Anderson has been exceptional this year, especially as of late, and he’ll be matched up against the right-handed Chris Bassitt for New York.

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7:10 PM Los Angeles
CF Nimmo (L) RF Betts
RF Marte 1B Freeman (L)
SS Lindor (S) SS T. Turner
1B Alonso C Smith
DH Davis 3B J. Turner
LF Canha CF Bellinger (L)
3B Escobar (S) LF Taylor
2B McNeil (L) DH McKinstry (L)
C Nido 2B Lux (L)
P Bassitt (R) P Anderson (L)

Unfortunately, Edwin Rios is going to be down for awhile with a reported hamstring strain. Such a bummer for Ríos who just needs his health and 700 plate appearances to break the single season home run record. He was slashing .244/.293/.500 this year, with a 121 wRC+ and seven homers in 92 plate appearances.

Zach McKinstry is in the starting lineup for the first time this year as the designated hitter. He should be solid defensively, but he’ll be at DH with his primary positions of second base and the corner outfield spots all already spoken for. McKinstry is slashing .338/.424/.464 this year in AAA, so if he could do some of that in LA that would be great. Additionally, the 32 year-old Eddy Alvarez has also been called up, slashing .304/.430/.500 in AAA this season. Hopefully one of them can translate some of it to the MLB roster.

Despite his scorching May, Mookie Betts was not named NL Player of the Month, with the honors going to Paul Goldschmidt on the Cardinals. If we compare the two, it makes sense as Betts slashed .342/.411/.746 for an 1.156 OPS and 218 wRC+ with twelve home runs. Goldschmidt slashed .404/.471/.817, a 1.288 OPS and a 253 wRC+ with ten home runs. It was the right call, and Goldschmidt is putting himself at the forefront of the MVP conversation as well. Trea Turner is sitting on a 25 game hitting streak, currently the longest in baseball, tied with Goldschmidt who today also reached 25 consecutive games.

For the Mets, Francisco Lindor (.787 OPS, 126 wRC+) will be back in the starting lineup after slamming his finger in his hotel room door prior to the first game of the series in LA. The Mets say that it is “a form of a fracture” but that he can play through it. I am not a doctor, nor am I Francisco Lindor, I am simply an outside observer that has watched the Mets fall apart in various different ways over the years. He has a “form of a fracture”, while the Mets have a 9.5 game lead 50 games into the season. I think it’d make sense to ensure that your $341 million dollar star shortstop is healthy for the remainder of the season especially come October, as opposed to three games in Los Angeles in early June. Who knows though, theoretically the Mets know best. I’m just a guy.

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Here’s how Bassitt and Anderson matchup.

Bassitt didn’t factor into the decision his last time out, allowing one run on two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in six innings. It was a solid bounce back start for him, as he’d been coming off a terrible stretch, surrendering 12 runs over his last 10.2 innings and two starts. In his start prior, he allowed eight runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings against the Giants. Joc Pederson hit two two-run shots against him while Tommy La Stella added a three-run homer for good measure.

Here’s how his profile has looked thus far.

The Mets acquired Bassitt from Oakland in the offseason, coming off a strong 2021 season where he came in tenth in Cy Young voting last year and was an All-Star for the first time in his career. Bassitt has been a mixed bag this season for the Mets. It’s hard to analyze how he’s been because he’s made a total of ten starts, six of which he’s gone at least five innings and allowed one run or less. However in his other four starts he’s allowed three, four, five, and eight earned runs. He’s allowed 24 earned runs on the year, but twenty of those came in four starts. Over time there will likely be less blowup starts and he’ll get back into the swing of things. He’s a good pitcher and the Dodgers will need to be on their game to beat him.

He has a true four pitch mix, with a curveball and changeup he mixes in as well. His fastball and his sinker both sit in the 92-94 MPH range, with his cutter in the high 80’s, his slider in the high 70’s, and the occasional curveball in the low 70’s. Extensive mix, and can be hard to hit because of that.

For Anderson, last time out he earned his sixth win of the year, allowing five hits and one walk with six strikeouts in six scoreless innings. He needed just 79 pitches to do so, and he just cruised through the Diamondbacks’ lineup. He’s been fantastic outside of his one blowup start against the Phillies. He likely could’ve given up less runs if he were pulled earlier, but it was a “wear it” start where the team just needed length and he still managed to go six innings.

He has two of the best pitches in baseball in his changeup and his cutter, which is odd to say about a guy like Anderson who doesn’t have a track record of dominating opponents. He’s racking up whiffs, but also limiting hard contact. His changeup has the second lowest hard-hit rate against at 16.7%, trailing just Corbin Burnes‘ cutter at 15.4%. After that, his cutter has a hard-hit rate of just 20.4%, the tenth lowest of all pitches in baseball. Pretty absurd stuff that he’s had two of the hardest pitches to barrel in the entire league.

In terms of his changeup, it’s always been his best pitch and while it has changed a considerable bit with the Dodgers, the simple idea is to throw your best pitch more often and your worst pitch less often. He’s done just that, as his four-seam fastball has always been his worst pitch and that makes sense as he’s never had overpowering velocity or spin. He’s throwing his fastball just 30% of the time now, by far the lowest rate of his career, upping his changeup usage to 31.2%, and his cutter usage to 26%. He uses a sinker to get strikes here and there as well, throwing it roughly 10% of the time. In addition to limiting hard contact, among all starters his changeup has the fifth highest whiff rate of any pitch in all of baseball at 44.9%. The Expected Weighted On-Base Average (xwOBA) of the pitch has been .165, trailing just Burnes’ curveball and Kevin Gausman‘s splitter. Elite company to be in. Oh and he also doesnt walk anyone, with six walks to 48 strikeouts on the season. Since his blowup start he’s allowed just two earned runs in his previous 21 innings, with 21 strikeouts and one walk.

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Unfortunate, but the two-time Olympian in Alvarez deserves a shot. He won the silver medal in the 2020 Tokyo Summer games in baseball, and also won silver in the 2014 Sochi Winter games in the 5000M Short Track Speed Skating Relay. Has to be the only person ever to be a speed skating and baseball Olympian?

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As I said about the Mets.

Luckily it seems Ríos should be able to return within the next couple months.

Blake Treinen returning would be a huge boost to the bullpen. One of the most reliable and dangerous relievers in baseball.

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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!