The Los Angeles Dodgers, with NL West honors in arm, travel to Queens for a three-game series against the New York Mets. The Dodgers clinched the NL West in Baltimore with a 7-3 win over the Orioles. They immediately followed that up with a lifeless performance in a 7-3 loss. Nobody seemed to care and the results reflected that on the scoreboard. Even to an extent yesterday, the Dodgers went through the motions at the plate and didn’t look their best.
They ultimately won a 4-2 game thanks to the Dodgers’ bullpen. Rich Hill exited with a knee injury, just as he was coming back from a forearm strain. Between blisters and other ailments, Hill has had issues staying healthy. A 3-run inning by the Dodgers in the 6th inning was the difference Thursday in Baltimore.
The Dodgers must find a way to stay interested in the rest of September. There’s still homefield advantage to worry about, but the main job has already been accomplished for the Dodgers in the regular season. Anything else is a bonus. Beyond homefield advantage, it’s important to stay sharp heading into the postseason. That’s all the Dodgers are trying to do in Queens this weekend. Conversely, the stakes are significantly higher for the Mets.
The Mets have their backs against a wall, but they aren’t out of the fight yet. They’re the first team out in the National League, as they carry a 2-game deficit into tonight against the Dodgers. The Cubs and Brewers are in a tie for the final wildcard spot, while the Mets trail by a couple of games.
Philadelphia are in a deadlock with the Mets at 76-70, so things are interesting in the NL. We have an All-Star showdown between Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard in this one tonight. Get our free Dodgers vs. Mets pick and the rest of our writeup below.
L.A. Dodgers vs. N.Y. Mets Pick:
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Clayton Kershaw hasn’t looked like himself lately. He has been looking very beatable, and for a guy who has often gotten criticized for choking in the postseason, is going to have questions to answer. Confidence in him will be low among Dodgers’ fans if he goes into the postseason cold. Most pitchers would be thrilled with an ERA of 3.06 in September, but he expects to see that below 3.00, and it was only recently that he watched it tick up over that mark.
On August 14th, Kershaw held a 2.63 ERA. And going into his last start, Kershaw had a 2.96 ERA. Kershaw has allowed 8 earned runs in his previous 9 innings of work. It has been since August 14th since he’s allowed fewer than 3 runs in a contest.
Dodger fans are familiar with him disappearing in October, but he usually doesn’t crumble like this in September. He goes into Citi Field with an ERA of 6.19 and 1.31 WHIP in his last three outings. Kershaw has been less effective on the road, with a 3.61 ERA in 62.1 innings compared to a 2.70 ERA at Dodger Stadium in 2019.
Syndergaard had endured some lumps recently as well. He got rocked against the Cubs for 9 earned runs three outings ago, but was able to settle down in his next outing, holding the Nationals to just 3 hits and no runs in 7 innings of play. As a result of that disastrous performance against the Cubs, Syndergaard goes into tonight with a 7.80 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in his last three outings.
The Dodgers haven’t been totally with it the last two days. I don’t understand teams who celebrate divisional wins, but apparently the Dodgers celebrated a little too hard. They’ve been a great team this season, though not so great on the road, where the Dodgers have posted a record of 39-33. Conversely, the Mets have enjoyed Citi Field, with a record of 42-29. Expect the Mets to be the more focused team Friday night. They look like the better value in this spot.