10/7/15

Reese Kaplan -- Oh Yeah, There's a Game to Play!

2 comments
With all of the hoopla surrounding the Matt Harvey missed practice, the C.C. Sabathia rehab stint and specter of the two-headed Cy Young monsters pitching for the Dodgers, not much is being said about how the lineups and bullpens stack up against one another. Yes, perhaps Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard fall a half tick below Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but they are more than respectable pitchers. Let's take a look at the rest of the rosters.

First Base

Adrian Gonzalez is a very well paid and bonafide star who delivered 28 HRs, 90 RBIs and a .275 average over the course of 156 games. On the east coast Lucas Duda provided 27 Hrs, 77 RBIs and hit .244 in a dozen fewer games. Power-wise, that's about a wash. Unfortunately Duda will be facing the some of the best left handed pitching in the game and he has at times struggled mightily against southpaws. Edge Dodgers.

Second Base

Howie Kendrick was a solid addition for the Dodgers and enabled them to trade Dee Gordon to free up second base. He performed well with 9 dingers, 54 RBIs and a .295 average. For the Mets in what's likely his final season, Daniel Murphy provided more – 14 homers, 73 RBIs and a .281 AVG. Edge Mets.

Shortstop

Jimmy Rollins has long been a thorn in the Mets' side and I fully expect him to continue to play his best with the season on the line. For the year, however, it appears age has caught up to him. He still hit it out of the yard 13 times and drove in 44 runners but the .224 AVG is not very good. The Mets have used the two-headed shortstop combo of Wilmer Flores who hit for more power and Ruben Tejada who delivered a significantly higher batting average. Edge Mets.

Third Base

While ex-Met Justin Turner's story has been well chronicled with 16 bombs, 60 RBIs and a.. .295 average in less than 400 ABs, you still have to think the perennial All-Star David Wright would have outperformed these numbers had he been healthy all year. Based upon track record, edge Mets.

Catcher

Yasmany Grandal showed some pop this year with 16 HRs but he hit a paltry .234. Travis d'Arnaud in nearly 120 fewer at bats delivered comparable run production at a higher average. Edge Mets.

Left Field

Carl Crawford is listed on the depth chart as the starting left fielder but his numbers suggest his best days are long behind him. Michael Conforto is the presumptive left fielder, though with lefties starting he may take a back seat to Michael Cuddyer. In either case, both Mets players clearly outperformed the former Red Sox speedster. Edge Mets.

Centerfield

Joc Pederson started out the year as if he was the second coming of Mike Trout. He was hitting for power, making spectacular fielding plays and showed what looked like great baserunning ability. Then the bottom fell out of his season. He finished with 26 HRs which is highly respectable but they netted just 54 RBIs and his average was an ugly .210. The Mets counter with Yoenis Cespedes. That's probably the clearest margin of any of the position battles in the Mets' favor.

Right Field

With Yasiel Puig still having hamstring issues, Andre Ethier is likely getting the call in RF. His .294 average was a nice bounce back year for him, but 14 HRs and 54 RBIs was not all that spectacular. Compare that to what Curtis Granderson did out of the leadoff position and it's a clear edge for the Mets.

Starting Pitchers

Kershaw and Greinke, the latter day Spahn and Sain (but perhaps even better) are making a lot of people very nervous. Mets fans worry about how neutralized their offense will be, particularly with some of the hitters either not in the lineup against lefties (such as Conforto) and others performing substantially worse against southpaws. After these two pitchers the Dodgers are a little thinner, with Brett Anderson pitching to a 10-9 record, a 3.69 ERA and proving to be fairly hittable. The Mets' top three of Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard may average out to be better pitchers, but the edge to Greinke and Kershaw makes me give the edge to the Dodgers.

Relief Pitchers

Kenley Jansen and Jeurys Familia are pitchers neither team wants to see entering the game. They are shutdown closers and on roughly equal footing. The rest of the Dodgers' pen has been somewhat better than what the Mets have done lately, with meltdowns by Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many Mets fans. Edge Dodgers.

Overall, it seems like a pretty well matched set of players and it could go either way. The Mets, who were ridiculed for their offense earlier in the season actually look to hold an edge in this regard, whereas their strength, pitching, seems to fall a little short of what the boys in blue have to offer. We'll know soon enough.

2 comments:

Mack Ade said...

It's just me, but I think this series will go down to what each pen does.

Alexander Han said...

Thanks for that overview, Reese, I agree, this could go either way. I'd give them second base just on the basis of Murphy's D'oh! factor.

For the Mets to win, the starters are going to have to be lights out for 6 innings, and then hand it over to the pen. Unless the team bats get hot, this season's pattern is they hit very little against a good starter, but can rally against the pen.

If we somehow get an early rally against Kershaw on Friday that may change things and relax the bats, but I wouldn't bet on it.

In addition to the pitching, Michael Cuddyer could be a key to how this series goes.... to me he is the glaring hole in the lineup and somehow the baseball gods will always put someone like that up at the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth...

Alex

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