At this time last week, the New York Mets were in borderline crises mode. They had just dropped five of their last six games and in desperate need of a morale boost. What a difference a week makes. The Amazins went on to sweep the Milwaukee Brewers before taking two out of three in Washington against the first place Nationals. At 27-19, the Mets trail the Nats by a game in the National League East. Into Citi Field come the Los Angeles Dodgers, owners of a 25-23 mark and 4.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. These two teams split a four game set in Los Angeles two weeks ago. This weekend will feature a couple of tantalizing pitching matchups.
Any discussion of the Dodgers must begin with Clayton Kershaw. In his May 12th outing vs. New York, the dominant left-hander went all the way on a three-hit shutout as LA won the game by a score of 5-0. In a season full of superlatives, this Kershaw stat is just unbelievable. In 74 innings this season, he has struck out 95 and walked only five. His WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings pitched) is an amazing 0.66. On Sunday evening, the Dodgers’ ace duels with Bartolo Colon in front of the entire country. It takes a lot to overshadow Kershaw and Friday night’s starting pitcher for the Dodgers just may do that. Los Angeles called up 19-year old rookie left-hander Julio Urias, considered the top pitching prospect in the game. The youngster was 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA in the extremely-hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. For a little more of a background on Urias, click on this article by Ken Gurnick at mlb.com. Urias will oppose Jacob deGrom.
The Dodgers are riding a four-game winning streak after dropping six of their previous seven games. The offense has been hot and cold. They are 12th in all of baseball in runs scored but are 18th in on-base percentage. No position player is hitting above .300 and it’s the almost ancient Chase Utley who leads the team in that category at .289. Rookie shortstop Corey Seager, another jewel from LA’s farm system, is playing well with 12 doubles and seven home runs. Yasiel Puig is massively under-achieving hitting only.246 with an OBP under .300. Adrian Gonzalez is still steady with a .356 OBP but has seven strikeouts in his last 25 at-bats, hitting only .200. Center fielder Joc Pederson leads the club in home runs with eight and RBI’s with 24. In the bullpen, Kenley Jansen has converted 14 of 16 save opportunities with 20 strikeouts in 19 innings and a WHIP of 0.58. Joe Blanton has turned himself into a reliable reliever, holding opponents to a .141 batting average while striking 23 in 23 1/3 innings.
This will be the final meeting between these two clubs in 2016. After this series the Dodgers move on to Chicago to play the Cubs while the Mets will play host to the other Chicago team, the White Sox.
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