by Paul West
After a stellar opening and explosive homecoming, the New York Mets must go on the road for a deciding Game Five. The game will feature another ‘aces high‘ matchup, as Jacob deGrom will face off against Zack Greinke.
Despite the fact that Greinke might be the best pitcher in baseball this season, the fact that he’s a righty is a plus for the Mets. The core lineup that tore the cover off the ball down the stretch is a lefty-dominant and righty-pounding bunch; Greinke’s lack of overpowering velocity will be a refreshing change from Clayton Kershaw‘s high-90s heat.
Red-hot Yoenis Cespedes and heating-up Daniel Murphy will probably be pitched around for much of the game. With Lucas Duda off-kilter and David Wright somewhere in between, the onus will be on the rest of the lineup to apply the pressure. Michael Conforto‘s balanced, powerful line-drive swing is something the Dodgers’ ace will have to beware of, as will Travis d’Arnaud‘s power stroke, which has begun to rumble to life. Wilmer Flores‘ swing plane is well suited for Greinke’s array of breaking pitches, and if one of said breakers is left over the plate, Flores will have a chance to be heroic once again.
Another factor that plays to the Mets’ advantage is their rotation depth. In a winner-take-all game, the Mets can use Noah Syndergaard in long relief, followed by an inning or two from Matt Harvey if needed. Two days removed from going seven innings on three days’ rest, Kershaw will likely be unavailable. The Dodgers’ pen has thrown a lot of innings already, and the Mets have seen their repertoires.
All things considered, the only key element of the matchup that clearly appears to favor the Dodgers is the location of the game. The Mets simply have to do what they did to get here: put forth a total-team effort, with contributions from their youth movement.