NLDS Game 1 Preview: New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Wild Card games are over and the Divisional Series matchups are set. The New York Mets will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best of five series. Pete Hodges has an NLDS game 1 preview of the matchup.

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New York Mets (90-72) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70)

New York won the season series (4-3)

Series Schedule:

Game 1 @ Los Angeles 6:30 PM Friday, 10/9 on TBS

Game 2 @ Los Angeles 5:30 PM Saturday, 10/10 on FS1

Game 3 @ New York 8:10 PM Monday, 10/12 on FS1

Game 4 (if needed) @ New York Tuesday TBD 10/13 2015 on FS1

Game 5 (if needed) @Los Angeles Thursday TBD 10/15 on FS1

All times are Eastern

Probable Starters:

Game 1: Jacob deGrom (R) (14-8) vs. Clayton Kershaw (L) (16-7)

Game 2: Noah Syndergaard (R) (9-7) vs. Zack Greinke (R) (19-3)

Game 3: Matt Harvey (R) (13-8) vs. Brett Anderson (L) (10-9)[/box]

New York Mets

The New York Mets’ young rotation led the way and the trade deadline acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes helped push the Mets to a NL East Division title.

Overall

The Mets scored 683 runs, good for 7th place in the NL. Their 177 home runs tied with the Washington Nationals for 3rd place, while their 51 steals placed last in the NL. The team hit .244/.312/.400 with a .287 BABIP, and had the 9th best wOBA in the league at .309.

Starters

New York’s rotation recorded a 64-51 record, with a 3.44 ERA, 3.50 FIP and 3.49 xFIP. Batters hit .243 against the starters, striking out 21.6% of the time and walking 5.2%, for a combined starters’ WHIP of 1.15.

The rotation is made up of youngsters, with Jacob deGrom taking the mound in Game 1. The righty had a 14-8 record with a 2.54 ERA, 2.70 FIP and a 2.92 xFIP. His BAA was an impressive .210. deGrom throws a four-seam fastball more than any other pitch(45.57%) while mixing in a slider (16.22%), sinker (16.13%), change (12.26%) and curve (9.82%). He throws his fastballs around 95-mph while his other pitches range between 89-mph and 81-mph.

Mets Dodgers 2015 IMG 1

The Relievers

New York’s bullpen posted a 26-21 record with a 3.48 ERA in 460 innings pitched. The relievers had 50 saves, 71 holds and 21 blown saves. Their K/9 and BB/9 were 8.73 and 3.33, respectively. They kept opposing hitters to 0.83 HR/9 while allowing a BAA of .230 and .286 BABIP.

Jeurys Familia settled into the closer’s role well this season, saving 43 games while only blowing 5 leads. The righty struck out 9.92 batters per nine innings while walking 2.19.

The Offense

The addition of Yoenis Cespedes helped to energize the Mets’ second half. They hit .257/.328/.443 after the break, as compared to .233/.298/.363 in the first half. New York’s offense is evenly split versus righties (.245/.312/.397)and lefties (.243/.312/.411). The Mets hit better on the road with a .255/.319/.411 line while hitting .233/.304/.389 at Citi Field.

After a deadline deal, Cespedes caught fire, hitting 17 home runs in 57 games (a 48 home run pace over 162 games) with a line of .287/.337/.604. Rookie and midseason call up Michael Conforto also impressed, hitting .270/.335/.506 with 9 home runs in 56 games.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Expectations were high for the Dodgers entering the season, given they have the highest payroll in MLB. Los Angeles scored 667 runs which was good for 8th place in the NL. Their 187 home runs led the NL while their 59 steals put them 13th. The Dodgers hit for a .250/.326/.413 line with a league leading .322 wOBA.

Starters

The Dodgers’ rotation notched a 64-42 record with a 3.24 ERA, 3.40 FIP and 3.25 xFIP. They held opposing batters to a .237 average while striking out 22.3% and walking 6.2%. The rotation is led by bona fide aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Kershaw is starting Game 1. The three-time Cy Young Award winner went 16-7 with a 2.13 ERA, 1.99 FIP and 2.09 xFIP. The lefty relies on his four-seam fastball (63.34%) and slider (21.14%). He also mixes in a curve (12.76%) and the occasional changeup (2.72%). His fastball sits at 94-mph while his slider is usually around 85-mph.

Mets Dodgers 2015 IMG 2

The Relievers

The Dodgers’ bullpen racked up a 28-28 record with a 3.91 ERA in 467 ⅓ innings. The relievers had 47 saves, 87 holds and blew 21 saves. Their K/9 and BB/9 were 9.96 and 2.89, respectively. The ‘pen allowed 0.98 HR/9 and held hitters to a .246 average.

Closer Kenley Jansen put up his usual impressive numbers, saving 36 games, striking out 13.76 batters per nine innings, and walking 1.38 per nine.

The Offense

The Dodgers were pretty steady throughout the year hitting .252/.329/.428 in the first half while hitting .248/.323/.393 in the second half. Los Angeles hit slightly better against lefties (.264/.337/.418) than righties (.245/.322/.411). The Dodgers also hit better at Chavez Ravine with a .251/.321/.425 at home, while hitting .249/.331/.401 away from Los Angeles.

Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez anchored the lineup in 2015. Howie Kendrick, acquired in an offseason trade, has provided solid offense from second base, batting .295/.336/.746.

*Click here for our Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals match-up.

Pete Hodges has also written about the origins of the rally cap and the call up of Luis Severino.

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

Check out Brandon Magee’s look at the baseball career of Brandon Weeden, Tom Wright’s Los Angeles Angels elimination article and Jimmy Wulf’s new favorite team.

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