NLDS Game 3 Preview: New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

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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 3 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 won 5-2

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 3: Matt Harvey (R) (13-8) vs. Brett Anderson (L) (10-9)

Game 4: Clayton Kershaw (L) (16-7) vs. Steven Matz (L) (4-0)

Game 5: Jacob deGrom (R) (14-8) vs. TBD[/box]

Game 3 Recap

The pitching matchup in Game 2 featured one of, if not, the best pitchers in baseball against possibly the best young pitcher in baseball. The first inning went by with only one hit, by New York’s Curtis Granderson, that was promptly erased by a double play.

In the top of the second inning, however, things got off to a rocky start. The Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes rocked a home run off of Dodgers ace Zack Greinke to lead off the inning. Greinke settled down, inducing a pop out by Lucas Duda, and striking out Travis d’Arnaud. But rookie Michael Conforto came up next and sent Greinke’s 93-mph four-seamer over the right field wall. Greinke then struck out Ruben Tejada to escape further damage.

Rookie Noah Syndergaard cruised through the first three innings, striking out six Dodgers while allowing just two hits and a walk. In the fourth inning, the Dodgers led off with back-to-back doubles, with Andre Ethier’s scoring Justin Turner. Carl Crawford reached on a fielder’s choice as Ethier was thrown out at third base. After striking out Yasmani Grandal and intentionally walking Enrique Hernandez, Syndergaard got Greinke to fly out to right field to end the inning.

After allowing the two runs in the second, Greinke ended up pitching five more scoreless innings, posting a final line of seven innings, five hits, two earned runs, no walks and eight strikeouts.

Syndergaard ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. After striking Grandal out again, the rookie walked Hernandez, who stole second base. Pinch-hitter Chase Utley then singled to right field, moving Hernandez 90 feet closer to home. Bartolo Colon was summoned from the bullpen to face Howie Kendrick.

Kendrick promptly hit a groundball to second base, where Utley slid in hard at the bag to successfully break up the double play. Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada was the victim of the takeout slide,and suffered a season-ending broken leg. Upon review, Utley was ruled safe at second. Hernandez scored on the play, and there were now men on first and second.

Addison Reed then relieved Colon for the Mets and got Corey Seager to fly out to left field for the second out of the seventh. The Dodgers then smacked back-to-back doubles for the second time in the game, this time with Turner on the back end, driving in Adrian Gonzalez. John Niese then come in to stop the bleeding, striking out Justin Ruggiano and ending the inning.
It was too late though, as that wrapped up the scoring for the game. Kenley Jansen earned the save as the Dodgers tied the series at one game each.

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.

Matt Harvey makes his first postseason start in Game 3. The right-hander missed all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery and made 29 starts this year, with a 13-8 record. In 189 ⅓ innings of work, Harvey put up a 2.71 ERA, a 3.05 FIP, and a 3.24 xFIP. The four-seam fastball (54.24%) is his weapon of choice and he mixes in a slider (14.21%), curve (12.80%), change (12.21%) and sinker (6.55%). Harvey’s fastball clocks in at 96-mph while his slider, curve and changeup are thrown at 90-, 84- and 89-mph, respectively.

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 Los Angeles Dodgers turn to Brett Anderson for Game 3. 2015 was Anderson’s first full healthy season in MLB since his rookie year in 2009, making 31 starts with a 10-9 record, a 3.69 ERA, a 3.94 FIP, and a 3.51 xFIP. The lefty throws a sinker (32.16%), slider (25.06%), four-seam fastball (20.43%), curve (12.77%) and a changeup (9.59%). His fastballs sit around 91-mph while his slider comes in near 83-mph.

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.

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