What a week it has been for the Los Angeles Dodgers. First they secure their seventh straight National League West title and then they secure home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. After taking two of three games against the Baltimore Orioles, the Dodgers headed to New York to take on the surging Mets.
The New York Mets have been an interesting team this season because they were big buyers during the offseason and then they acquired Marcus Stroman at the trade deadline. Putting all their chips in, the Mets plan for the postseason has not payed off as well as they have hoped. While they are a better team than they were last season, they definitely have one more hurdle to jump before they can take down the dominant Braves.
On Friday night, the Dodgers sent Clayton Kershaw to the mound to take on Noah Syndegaard. Kershaw gave up a first inning home run to JD Davis and the struggles for Kershaw continue. This season, Kershaw has given up numerous home runs in the first inning and his ERA is inflated in that first inning. However, his ERA in every inning after the first is amazing. In the playoffs, Clayton Kershaw will possibly be the number two pitcher in the rotation which I think is beneficial for two reasons: He won’t be burdened by the rest of the pitching staff and he won’t have to have the monkey on his back about being the best pitcher in baseball.
Baseball knows that Clayton Kershaw is no longer the sub two ERA, 95 MPH fireballer, 15 strikeouts a game pitcher. He is the opposite now. Kershaw is becoming a pitcher and not just a thrower. His fastball sits at 90-92 MPH but his wipeout slider is what has become his most dominant pitch in 2019.
After giving up that home run, Clayton Kershaw settled in nicely. Unlike a lot of typical Clayton Kershaw starts, the Dodgers offense was able to give him a nice lead to work with. A handful of those runs came from rookies Edwin Rios and Gavin Lux. Lux, who had just hit his first career home run a few days earlier, launched his second off of Noah Syndegaard. Additionally, Edwin Rios homered to extend the Dodgers lead.
At the end of the night, the Dodgers won 9-2 against the Mets. Clayton Kershaw picked up his 14th win of the season and remains undefeated against the Mets, 10-0 in 15 career regular season starts. Also, he has never lost at Citi Field in New York.
All in all, the series against the Mets was productive. Yes, they lost on Saturday night but the offense was so stale. Cody Bellinger’s slump is becoming more and more obvious, he hasn’t homered in 11 games. Meanwhile, Pete Alonso and others are swinging a hot bat and continuing to add their name to the MVP discussion.
Speaking of MVP discussions, Mike Trout has had season ending surgery on his ankle to address a lingering injury. There is no doubt in my mind that Trout will end up winning his third American League MVP title this season. Regardless of his injury, there is only about ten games left in the regular season and Trout would have only padded his stats even more. With that being said, he won’t cruise to the MVP award, but he will surely win it.