As it stands now, the Dodgers own a 38-35 record and are in sole possession of second place in the National League West, trailing the Diamondbacks by just 2-1/2 games. When considering the number of adjustments the club has made over the first three months of the season due to injuries, that’s not a bad standing by any means. If Los Angeles is able to stay relatively healthy through the summer months into the fall, seemingly, the sky may be the limit in terms of future success.
Skipper Dave Roberts apparently is thinking the same way, as he still remains confident the Dodgers are destined to be a playoff team, recently making a bold statement that his crew will indeed be competing in the 2018 postseason.
“We’re going to be somewhere in October,” Roberts stated at the conclusion of the series against the Cubs. “I can’t speak to who the opponent will be. But we’ll be somewhere.”
In any event, October is a long way off. In the meantime, the Dodgers are grounded in New York, set to face an underachieving Mets club who is 10 games under .500 and 11-1/2 games out of first place in the NL East. The weekend series is a huge opportunity for the Boys in Blue to re-establish the momentum they lost earlier in the week in Chicago.
And speaking of injuries, the Mets are probably for more beat-up than the Dodgers, at least as far as position players go. They’re without a slew of players, most notably Asdrubal Cabrera, who’s day-to-day with elbow problems, outfielder Jay Bruce, who went on the 10-day DL this week with a hip strain, and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has been out since early June with a quadriceps injury.
Outfielder Juan Lagares, catcher Travis d’Arnaud and relief pitcher AJ Ramos are all gone for the season, while flamethrower Noah Syndergaard and third baseman David Wright are still several weeks away from rejoining the team.
Highlighting the Dodgers injury notes is Clayton Kershaw, who is set for a rehab appearance with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. If all goes well this weekend, Kersh will presumably join the big league rotation next week, bringing the starting five very close to optimal strength.
As far as matchups go in the opener, lefty Alex Wood will face Zack Wheeler. The right-handed Wheeler has posted an ERA of 4.82 and is 2-5 on the season. He has struck out 72 batters this year and is averaging a 1.39 WHIP. Conversely, Wood has posted a 4.22 ERA with 2 wins, 5 losses and 68 strikeouts. Friday’s first pitch is slated for 4:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.
On Saturday, young lefty Caleb Ferguson will take the hill for the Dodgers in what may be his final start for the interim, assuming Kersh comes away from his rehab appearance unscathed. He’ll face New York ace Jacob deGrom who has registered a microscopic 1.51 ERA over 15 starts this season. Ferguson owns a 7.59 ERA, a 5.53 FIP and a 1.406 WHIP over three starts and just 10-2/3 innings pitched. Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on FOX and is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. Los Angeles time.
In the finale on Sunday, veteran southpaw Rich Hill will square off against a fellow left-handed vet in Jason Vargas. In his return to the mound last Tuesday against the Cubs, Hill was fantastic, throwing six scoreless innings while striking out six batters and surrendering just three hits and two walks. The 35-year-old Vargas has tallied a 2-6 record this season over nine starts, registering a 8.60 ERA and a 6.54 FIP in the process. Sunday’s affair is scheduled for a 10:10 a.m. Los Angeles start time.
At the conclusion of the finale, the Dodgers will pack their bags and head home to start a 10-game homestand which commences with a four-game set against the Cubs beginning on Monday.
5 thoughts on “Series Preview: Dodgers Face Mets in Final Leg of Road Trip”
Let’s see if baseball is it’s usual unpredictable self this weekend. Logic tells us we should win games 1 and 3 in NY and will have no chance of Fergie beating deGrom. Logic doesn’t always triumph.
Where’s Manuel? Banuelos pitched another great game last night. Too bad for him that we’re almost back to 5 normal starters if we assume that Stripling has now permanently replaced Ryu (at least until the All Star game). That coupled with the fact that he’s not on the 40-man might mean he’ll be shipped to another team as part of a trade this July. Someone should certainly take a chance on him, unless the front office views him as a bullpen possibility. Chargois is also doing better at OKC and might make it back at some point.
So far, so good. Gonna be interesting to watch Kershaw in the middle game today.
Well, this is the one we weren’t supposed to win anyway so as long as he doesn’t get hurt today I suppose it’s a positive.
You asked me to keep an eye on Kasowski at RC Dennis. The “Big K” pitched 2 innings last night, got the save and struck out 4. He’s got an ERA of 0.96 and a WHIP of 0.54 and is striking out batters at the rate of about 16k/9 innings. His one problem when he got to Rancho was too many walks and he seems to have cut down on those. Since he started at Great Lakes this year it’s a very small sample size at Rancho (7 games, 9 innings) but if he continues this way for a few more outings he’ll be ready for Tulsa very soon.
Rios is hitting very well at OKC and seems like this year’s Willie Calhoun. If we go get an American League player at the deadline, he’s bound to be included in the package. Seems like the perfect AL player. I suppose if an NL club has an opening at first base, they might like him also, but fielding is definitely not his best skill.
Sounds like I’ll be putting together a little follow-up story on Kasowski tomorrow morning.
Do it quickly before he turns into a pumpkin. 🙂