LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Here are six good reasons why the Dodgers will beat the Mets in this year’s National League Division Series.
6. Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes injured his hand at the worst possible time
Earlier in the week, Mets outfielder and MVP Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch in his left hand.
While Cespedes left the game and manager Terry Collins said that he should be OK, this should worry Mets fans.
Since being traded to the Mets at the trade deadline, Cespedes has a .287 average, 17 home runs, 44 RBI, and a .946 OPS in just 54 games played.
He also slugged 18 homers with the Detroit Tigers this season before coming to the Mets.
If their star outfielder isn’t fully healthy for the NLDS against the Dodgers, the Mets are in trouble.
5. Jim Johnson won’t be on the playoff roster
The Dodgers made a massive 13-player deal at the trade deadline which landed them relief pitcher Jim Johnson, among others.
However, since joining the Dodgers, Johnson has been abysmal.
In 18.2 innings pitched, Johnson sports a 10.13 ERA and 0-3 record with the Dodgers in 23 games pitched.
He’s given up 21 earned runs as a Dodger in those 18.2 innings, and surrendered 32 hits as well.
Manager Don Mattingly has already decided on the majority of the playoff roster, but that certainly will not feature Johnson.
If Mattingly elects to in fact put Johnson on the playoff roster, Mets fans should rejoice.
However, barring any late-season injuries, I don’t see one plausible scenario where the 32-year old veteran makes the team.
Mattingly said they have about 21-22 playoff spots set already. Looking at the remaining spots this weekend.
— Vincent Samperio (@DNVince) October 2, 2015
4. Jimmy Rollins & Chase Utley will contribute one way or another
The Dodgers didn’t bring on Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley because they were in their primes, but they brought them to Los Angeles with the hopes that both infielders could lead during the postseason.
Rollins and Utley both have World Series titles under their belts, and the Dodgers certainly need veteran leadership in the Playoffs after being eliminated before the World Series the past two years.
With the emergence of rookie shortstop Corey Seager, it is unclear how much Rollins will actually play, but his leadership in the clubhouse will be irreplaceable.
3. Howie Kendrick is fully healthy
Howie Kendrick has been the most consistent Dodgers hitter this season.
The veteran second baseman is hitting .293 on the year, with 134 hits, 9 home runs, 54 RBI’s and 61 runs.
Kendrick has been a spark plug for the Dodgers offense the entire season, and despite injuring his hamstring earlier in the year, he seems to be fully healthy and ready for the postseason.
2. Zack Greinke & Clayton Kershaw dominated the Mets this season
Don Mattingly has not announced whether Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw will start game 1 against the Mets, but it really shouldn’t matter.
Both Greinke and Kershaw pitched two games against the Mets this year, and seemed to dominate the game in every aspect.
Greinke vs Mets on July 4th: 7 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 Win (Dodgers won 4-3)
Greinke vs. Mets on July 26th: 7 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 3 K, ND (Mets won 3-2)
Kershaw vs. Mets on July 3rd: 7.0 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 7 K, ND (Mets won 2-1)
Kershaw vs. Mets on July 23rd: 9.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 11 K, 1 Win (Dodgers won 3-0)
While the two clubs split the season series when Greinke or Kershaw pitched this year, the Dodgers did not allow more than 3 runs during any of those four starts.
1.Clayton Kershaw will prove he can pitch in the playoffs
We’ve all heard the talk about how Clayton Kershaw can’t pitch in the playoffs.
His career stats in the postseason aren’t flattering either, so the talk isn’t necessarily uncalled for.
In 8 career postseason starts (11 total games), Kershaw is 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 51 innings pitched.
So how can someone so dominant in the regular season be so vulnerable in the postseason? It just doesn’t add up.
Coming off back-to-back Cy Young Awards and an MVP Award, Kershaw seems to have found his stride later in the season.
While he allowed 28 earned runs in April and May combined, the Dodgers ace has surrendered just 27 earned runs since May during the months of June, July, August and September.
In previous years it was rumored that Kershaw was running out of gas by the time the postseason came around.
There shouldn’t be any questions as to if Kershaw is ready for the postseason this year however, as in his last 16 starts, he as pitched at least 7 innings in all but two of them, and has not surrendered more than four earned runs in a start since May.
Expect Kershaw’s success to continue as the Dodgers postseason begins, as he looks to finally prove the critics of his postseason pitching wrong.