The Dodgers roll into Citi Field Friday for the first series against the Mets since September 2019. When these two teams tangled last, Kenley Jansen got the win after pitching in the eighth inning and Kenta Maeda picked up the save.
That seems like a lifetime ago despite it happening less than two years ago. The short season in 2020 didn’t allow for the Dodgers and Mets to play each other.
Having a five-game deficit to the Giants, the largest of this season, it really feels like the Dodgers need to sweep a good portion of the 15 series matchups left on the schedule. Every game is crucial right now and every loss is so painful to the hopes of winning the ninth consecutive division title.
The Dodgers will play the Mets in seven of the next 10 games and interestingly enough, the Mets play the Giants and Dodgers exclusively over the next 13 of their schedule. That means the Mets could potentially have a sizable impact on the NL West division race.
Since losing their best starter in Jacob deGrom, the Mets pitching staff has struggled as a whole, giving up 146 runs in 31 games since July 9 for a combined 4.68 ERA. The most consistent starter outside of deGrom has been Marcus Stroman and he won’t appear in this series, having just pitched Thursday.
Going 10-2 at Citi Field since 2016, the Dodgers will send their best starting pitching to the mound.
Friday, 4:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network): Julio Urías vs. Tylor Megill
When Urías gets the first out Friday night, he will have surpassed the combined total of innings from the previous two years. If the Dodgers had a full rotation, they might be looking to conserve some of those innings towards October.
The left-hander has pitched well in 2021 and has gone 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA over his last eight starts. The Dodgers themselves are 6-2 in those games and 17-6 overall when Urías takes the ball.
After a solid July where he allowed just three runs in 26 innings over five starts, Megill has allowed nine runs (eight earned) over his last two. The 26 year-old was an eighth-round selection of the Mets back in 2018 an made his major league debut in late June.
Saturday, 4:10 p.m. (SportsNet LA, MLB Network): Walker Buehler vs. Taijuan Walker
Buehler has gone at least six innings in 22 of his 23 starts this season, allowing two or less runs to his opponent in 18 of those. The right-hander has been absolutely nails since May 17, going 11-2 with a 1.57 ERA.
The Dodgers are catching Walker at a good time if there was one this year. The Yucaipa High School graduate had a 1.84 ERA through the first nine starts of the season and the Mets won all but one of those games. Showing signs of fatigue, the right-hander has allowed 24 runs (23 earned) combined in just 21 innings over his last five starts.
Sunday, 4:08 p.m. (ESPN): Max Scherzer vs. Carlos Carrasco
Despite playing in the same division up until the end of July, Scherzer has yet to face the Mets this season. The 37-year-old threw only 54 pitches in 3.1 IP last time out, striking out six of the 12 batters he faced Tuesday in a rain-shortened outing.
Since being diagnosed with leukemia back in June of 2019, Carrasco has made only 15 starts in the big leagues. The 34-year-old made his first appearance this year on July 30 and hasn’t gone more than 62 pitches in his three starts this year. It didn’t help matters that his last start was suspended just one batter into the second inning due to rain.