Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets Pick 9/13/19
Los Angeles Dodgers (95-53) vs. New York Mets (76-70)
When: 7 p.m., Friday, September 13
Where: Citi Field, New York
Moneyline: LAD -130/NYM +120 (5Dimes)
Runline: Dodgers -1.5/Mets +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw (13-5, 3.06 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) vs. Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 4.06 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
What is going on with Clayton Kershaw? The Dodgers’ ace, long one of the most reliable pitchers in the National League, has looked very human in his past four starts. Giving up three runs would be a job well done for most pitchers, especially when going seven innings. But for Kershaw, it’s a sign of concern. So too is the fact that the Dodgers haven’t generated enough offense to bail him out in his past three starts, which has led him to take the loss in each game. The one exception was against Toronto, a game in which Los Angeles put 16 runs on the board, giving Kershaw plenty of cushion to make mistakes.
But otherwise, this hasn’t been going according to plan for the Dodgers. A team who have scored just ten runs in Kershaw’s past three performances.
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As the Mets’ season nears its end, it has to be asked whether Syndergaard has enough left in the tank to get to the finish line. Up until the end of August, Syndergaard had been one of New York’s most reliable pitching options, consistently holding opponents to three runs or less and giving his team a chance to win every time he took the mound.
But in two of his past three starts — both at home — Syndergaard looked well below ordinary. Against the Cubs, the pitcher got lit up for nine runs in three innings in a 10-7 loss to the Mets’ closest rival for the second wild card spot. Against the Phillies, another wild card rival, Syndergaard wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t great either, giving up four runs in five innings as the Mets again lost a game that they badly needed.
Sandwiched between those starts was a three-hit performance in Washington that saw him hold the Nationals scoreless through seven innings, so there’s still evidence to suggest that he’s capable of getting the job done. But when a pitcher has been as reliable as Syndergaard has, any signs of slippage are a reason for concern.
Down to the Wire
The Mets have to get results here. They’re out of time for winning two out of three and being happy with that. They still have to catch the Cubs, and even though two games isn’t a big difference, they’ve got no way to take control of their own fate, as they won’t face either the Cubs or the Nationals the rest of the way. That means every game is critical for New York, and they’re likely going to come in as a desperate team. Should the Mets get two or all three of these games, the schedule difficulty drops dramatically after this series. The Mets close the year against non-playoff bound Colorado, Cincinnati and Miami before finishing the year against almost certain NL East champion Atlanta.
While the Mets have a path, the Dodgers know they’ll be in the postseason again. The question for them is where they’ll end up. Los Angeles has to hold off Atlanta to clinch home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs and face the wild-card winner as opposed to the Cardinals, who would be very dangerous in a short series. At the same time, the Dodgers’ goal is the World Series, and they currently trail the Yankees by two games for baseball’s best record, which would mean a potential Game 7 in Yankee Stadium if they can’t make up the deficit.
The Dodgers hold a 3-1 lead in this series for the year, having cruised past the Mets in a four-game series at Dodger Stadium this year. However, the Dodgers do that to everybody, as their 56-20 home record will attest. Tied with Houston for the best in baseball. While their current situation is a far cry from going 0-7 against the Dodgers in 2017, the reality is that the Mets haven’t won the season series from the Dodgers since 2015, the year New York ended up going to the World Series — and beating the Dodgers in the NLDS on the way there.
- The Dodgers are 1-5 in their past six Friday games.
- The Dodgers are 1-4 in Kershaw’s past five Friday starts.
- The Mets have won eight of their past nine against a starter with a WHIP under 1.15
- The Mets have won their previous four home games.
- The over is 4-0 in Kershaw’s past four road starts.
- The over is 12-3-1 in Syndergaard’s last 16 starts against teams above .500
Weather ReportIn contrast with the high temperatures that have been baking the Midwest, Queens will feel mild and pleasant, with a temperature of 63 degrees at game time.
Dan’s pickWith Kershaw not pitching well and Syndergaard in danger of wearing down, the best bet on the board is the over. It’s hit in Syndergaard’s past four starts against LA, and with how low it’s been set, it seems to be a wise call, as neither pitcher is in form. As for the game itself, it’s usually crazy to pick against Kershaw in Queens. In his past eight starts at Citi Field, the Dodgers have gone home winners each time. In fact, Kershaw has been on the winning side in 14 of his past 16 starts against the Mets. But this time, I think the Mets are ready to snap that streak. They need to have this series, and they will throw everything they have at the Dodgers in order to give themselves a chance at the playoffs. The over is my top pick here, but as far as a winner, I’m taking the Mets.
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