NLDS Game 2 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 2 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: New York won 3-1

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 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]

Game 1 Recap

Game 1 of the NLDS in Los Angeles featured two of the best starters in baseball, 2014 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 All Star, righty Jacob deGrom against three-time Cy Young award winner and 2014 NL MVP Clayton Kershaw.

The game started out as you would expect with both pitchers shutting down the other’s offense. The first run in the game came in the fourth inning when Mets outfielder Daniel Murphy took Kershaw deep to right for a solo homer.

That would be the only run scored until the 7th when Lucas Duda led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second on a ground out. Ruben Tejada then worked another walk off of Kershaw setting the stage for deGrom to sacrifice Duda to third and Tejada to second. Kershaw then walked Curtis Granderson and exited stage right, done for the evening.

Former infielder Pedro Baez came in for Kershaw and promptly gave up a two-run single to David Wright. He then struck out Yoenis Cespedes to end the evening. Kershaw finished with a line of 6.2 IP, four hits, four walks, 11 strikeouts and three earned runs.

deGrom came back to pitch the 7th, and finished the night with a line of 7 IP, five hits, one walk and zero earned runs.

Los Angeles was finally able to score a run when Adrian Gonzalez knocked in Howie Kendrick on a single off reliever Tyler Clippard. In the end, the kid outdueled the old man and helped give his team the series lead going into game 2 later today.

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.

Rookie Noah Syndergaard takes the ball for the Mets in Game 2. The top prospect got his opportunity to start in the big leagues in May when Dillon Gee missed a start due to a groin injury, and Syndergaard hasn’t looked back. In 24 starts, the rookie posted a 9-7 record with a 3.24 ERA, a 3.25 FIP and a 2.91 xFIP. He held batters to a .221 BAA, striking out 9.96 batters per nine innings, while only walking 1.86.

The righty relies on a four-seam fastball (37.98%), sinker (23.74%) and curve (20.24%). He also mixes in a changeup (14.21%) and, rarely, a slider (3.84%). Syndergaard’s fastballs clock in around 98-mph while his curve comes in at 81-mph.

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.

The Dodgers’ other ace, AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, gets the start for the Dodgers in Game 2. Greinke has certainly earned the ace monicker, recording 19 wins against only three losses, with a 1.66 ERA, 2.76 FIP, and a 3.22 xFIP in 32 starts and 222 ⅔ innings this season. He held batters to a jaw-dropping .185 BAA, and had a K/9 and BB/9 of 8.08 and 1.62, respectively. The right-hander throws a four-seamer (45.47%), change (21.11%) and slider (19.21%). He also mixes in the occasional curve (8.03%) and sinker (5.40%) along with the very rare slow curve (0.79%). He throws the fastball around 92-mph, while his change and slider come in at 89-and 87-mph, respectively.

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.

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 Ian York’s look at the strike zone in Game 2 of the Rangers/Blue Jays series and Jacob deGrom. Also check out our preview of Game 2 of the other NLDS.

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