The New York Mets have won six straight games and taken a commanding 10.5-game lead in the National League East. Now, they’ll get to test themselves against the toughest competition in the NL this weekend when they visit Los Angeles to play the Dodgers.
The Dodgers lead the NL West with a 33-17 record, despite losing three straight at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mets prepare for West Coast trip
Tony Gonsolin (5-0, 1.80 ERA) will take the mound for Los Angeles on Thursday, while Taijuan Walker (3-0, 2.83) pitches for the Mets. The Dodgers come in as a -180 favorite over New York (+155) in the first game between the two squads.
The Mets and Dodgers will play four games in total between tonight and Sunday. New York is coming off a perfect 6-0 homestand, including two consecutive shutouts of the Washington Nationals on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Mets know they’re in for a tougher challenge against the Dodgers. This series is also the start of a long West Coast trip that includes series against both the Padres and Angels.
“It will determine how persistent we are, because we are going to be tired,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor told reporters. “It’s going to determine how persistent, resilient and how we can handle adversity.”
Lindor has helped power a Mets offense that leads the majors in both batting average and on-base percentage. New York trails only the Dodgers in OPS. Lindor has now driven in at least one run in each of the last 10 games, the second-longest streak in Mets history.
“When there is somebody on base, I have to do whatever it takes to bring the guy in,” Lindor said.
LA suffers shocking sweep vs. Pittsburgh
Meanwhile, the Dodgers just suffered their first three-game sweep at home since August 2018. Even more surprisingly, they lost to the Pirates – not exactly the class of the National League.
“I hope it’s not a trend,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “It’s very uncharacteristic. I hope it’s just kind of one moment in time where it’s happening all at once, because we are very good at limiting mistakes, outs on the bases, giving up outs.”
Regardless of the opponent, the Dodgers admit they have to play better to continue winning.
“They’re still a big-league club,” outfielder Mookie Betts told reporters. “We just didn’t play well. And they did.”
Despite the recent struggles, the Dodgers still lead the NL West by three games and hold the best run differential in the majors at +112. Los Angeles continues to have an immense depth of talent on its roster, from a lineup that can score runs from top to bottom, to a pitching staff that’s getting unexpectedly good performances from the likes of Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson.
Barring disaster, both teams will make the playoffs. The Dodgers are the favorites to win the National League pennant at +215, with the Mets (+370) the second choice. And while neither team can win anything this weekend, they’ll both want to make a statement against a potential NLCS opponent. Still, nobody wants to get ahead of themselves just yet.
“We’ll find out in late September, October,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said when asked how good his team could be. “I’m okay with finding out about it when it gets here.”