Dodgers @ Mets August 30, 2022: Clash between the two best teams in baseball

The Dodgers come into this matchup with the New York Mets (82-47), with a ridiculous 89-38 record (113-win pace), while the Mets themselves are having an excellent season and are on a 103-win pace. They trail the Dodgers for best record in baseball by eight games, and are also tied with the Houston Astros (82-47) for the second-best record in baseball. These two teams are tied 2-2 in the season series, and this will be the last time they face each other before a potential October matchup. Tonight features Andrew Heaney against the right-handed Taijuan Walker.

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4:10 PM New York
RF Betts CF Nimmo (L)
SS T. Turner RF Marte
1B Freeman (L) SS Lindor (S)
3B Muncy (L) 1B Alonso
DH Gallo (L) DH Ruf
2B Lux (L) LF Canha
LF Thompson 2B McNeil (L)
CF Bellinger (L) 3B Escobar (S)
C Barnes C McCann
P Heaney (L) P Walker (R)

Against the right-handed Walker, Justin Turner will have the day off, as will Chris Taylor who has been struggling mightily. Austin Barnes will be catching, but that could be more related to Heaney than anything else, more on that later.

The Mets, like many teams, have struggled a bit against left-handed pitching. For as good as their offense is, against LHP they have the 17th ranked wRC+ (103), and 18th ranked OPS (.699). Overall, Pete Alonso has been their best offensive player with a 140 wRC+, followed by Jeff McNeil (139), Mark Canha (133), Starling Marte (133), Brandon Nimmo (124), and Francisco Lindor (124). That’s a lot of really good batters.

The Dodgers are led by … Trayce Thompson with a 163 wRC+, followed by Freddie Freeman (155), Mookie Betts (153), Trea Turner (136), Joey Gallo (with LA, 136 wRC+), Will Smith (133), and Gavin Lux (128). Also a lot of really good batters. This is a good matchup between two great offenses.

The Dodgers clearly own the best offense in baseball, that is not in doubt. However, the Mets are very dangerous and should be treated as such. They’re fifth in runs scored, are 43-20 (.683) at home, and likely due to Edwin Diaz (1.40 ERA, 1.02 FIP, 99 strikeouts in 51.1 IP), the Mets lead baseball in extra inning games with a 9-2 record, compared to the 4-6 record of the Dodgers.

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Pitching wise, the Dodgers got quite a lucky draw, in the sense that they’ll “only” face Jacob deGrom this series, as opposed to facing Max Scherzer as well. If it were a playoff series they might have to face both of those starters multiple times, which makes the Mets a real postseason threat.

Here’s how Heaney and Walker matchup.

Two starts ago, Walker exited the game with back spasms, but appeared to be fine in his previous start, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks over five innings with three strikeouts against the Yankees. He was held to 81 pitches likely due to his back spasms in his prior start, but Walker seemed to emerge unscathed from this outing. Since the All-Star break, he has struggled with a 6.31 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 15 strikeouts to 10 walks through 25.2 innings. He had a solid start against the Dodgers back in early June, going 5.2 innings allowing two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. He sits in the mid 90’s with his fastball and sinker, throwing them roughly 40% of the time, with his high 80’s splitter being thrown a third of the time, mixing in a slider and to take up the remainder of his arsenal.

Heaney earned the win over Milwaukee on Wednesday, pitching six innings and allowing two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out ten. He fell behind early after giving up a first inning solo homer to Willy Adames, but he surrendered just one more run after that. He racked up 20 swinging strikes and finished with ten strikeouts for the second straight game. Heaney struggled despite the big strikeout total in his previous outing, but he registered one of his strongest starts of the season Wednesday. His ability to remain healthy remains a question mark, but the performance is there when he can stay on the field. Prior to that start, he allowed three earned on five hits and one walk while striking out ten but served up three home runs despite entering the contest having given up only one long ball across his first 31 innings. In his nine starts, and granted it’s a small sample size, Heaney has a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 innings with Barnes catching, compared to a 2.33 ERA in 27.0 innings with Smith catching. He’s given up four of his five home runs with Smith catching, so who knows. The Mets will be a tough task for Heaney, but it’s a good outing to see what he’s got as they head into the final stretch of the season.

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Clayton Kershaw returning is great news, and this additionally allows Dustin May an extra day of rest.

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Lots of roster moves to essentially add two relievers in Jake Reed and Heath Hembree. Hembree has a 4.82 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 9.2 innings with AAA Oklahoma City.

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First pitch is at 4:10 PM PDT on SNLA and TBS.

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!