The first game of the final regular-season series between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers unfolded like a playoff contest.
On Wednesday night, the pitching matchup will be one straight out of October.
Jacob deGrom will look to help the Mets even the series on Wednesday when New York hosts the Dodgers in a battle of the top two teams in the National League.
deGrom (3-1, 2.15 ERA) is slated to oppose Dodgers left-hander Tyler Anderson (13-2, 2.69).
Gavin Lux collected three RBIs on Tuesday, and his RBI single in the seventh inning snapped a tie and lifted the Dodgers to a 4-3 win.
Los Angeles, who lead the National League West by 19 1/2 games, improved to 22-5 this month. The Mets remained three games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East by virtue of the Braves’ 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers, who needed seven pitchers in a 3-2, 10-inning win over the Miami Marlins on Monday night, pieced together the Tuesday victory behind starter Andrew Heaney and the only four relievers manager Dave Roberts said he had available.
After Heaney allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings, right-hander Heath Hembree, freshly promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City, earned the win by throwing a scoreless sixth.
A pair of bullpen mainstays, left-hander Alex Vesia and right-hander Evan Phillips, each tossed a hitless frame. Jake Reed, who was also called up from Oklahoma City earlier in the day, earned his first career save by working around Eduardo Escobar’s leadoff single in the ninth.
“We had four arms that we were going to use, so it was more of kind of just piecing the puzzle tonight,” Roberts said.
A quintet of Mets pitchers mostly held Los Angeles — which leads the majors with 690 runs scored and a .789 OPS — in check. But while the Dodgers stranded 12 runners, including six in scoring position, the visitors benefited from a pair of big hits by Lux, including a two-run, third-inning single that put them ahead 3-1.
The Mets stranded three runners in scoring position before coming up short against Reed in the ninth, when Escobar was erased on Daniel Vogelbach’s double-play grounder.
“It’s a game of inches, and tonight those inches didn’t go in our favor,” said Mets catcher James McCann, who whiffed in all three of his at-bats and ended the sixth inning by striking out with two on. “There were definitely some spots, one for me specifically, and they didn’t go our way.”
deGrom earned a win on Thursday when he retired the first 13 batters he faced and gave up one run on three hits over six innings as the Mets beat the Rockies 3-1. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has allowed just 16 baserunners — 14 hits and two walks — over 29 1/3 innings in his first five starts since being activated from the injured list on Aug. 2.
The right-hander is 0-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 10 regular-season starts against the Dodgers. deGrom also went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA (two runs in 13 innings) while striking out 20 in a pair of starts against Los Angeles in the 2015 NL Division Series, which the Mets won in five games.
Anderson, who made the All-Star team for the first time this season and ranks among the NL’s top 12 in wins and ERA, didn’t factor into the decision in his latest outing. He surrendered two runs (one earned) over 5 1/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 10-6, 10-inning win over the Marlins on Friday.
Anderson is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts against the Mets. He blanked New York on three hits over six innings in a 6-1 win on June 3.
–Field Level Media