In 2006 the Mets beat the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS, their last playoff series win to date. Nearly a decade later, the Mets have a chance to repeat history. Los Angeles will be the locale for Thursday night’s decisive Game 5 (TBS, 8 p.m.) between the Mets and Dodgers, with the winner advancing to play the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, which begins on Saturday.
The starting pitchers for this do-or-die contest will be New York’s Jacob deGrom and LA’s Zack Greinke. deGrom started Game 1 of this series and put up an impressive line in the Mets’ 3-1 victory; seven innings pitched, five hits, one walk, and 13 strikeouts with no runs allowed. deGrom will be pitching on five days rest, which is a bit concerning as he allows opponents a .230 batting average on extra rest as opposed to a .183 batting average on regular rest.
deGrom will have to pay close attention to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, who got two hits off him in Game 1 and is batting .467 in this series. Adrian Gonzalez, who has been swinging a hot bat lately as well (.313 with a home run and five RBIs this series), was 0-for-3 against deGrom in Game 1. Gonzalez does own prior success against deGrom though; he was 3-for-8 with two home runs and five RBIs against deGrom before Friday night’s game.
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Greinke starts Game 5 on regular rest, and he was 11-1 with a 1.06 ERA in the regular season when he was allowed the conventional four days between starts. Greinke put up a solid line in his team’s Game 2 victory, going seven innings while allowing two runs on five hits and striking out eight. Both of those runs came off solo homers, one by Yoenis Cespedes and the other by Michael Conforto - in the only game he’s started in this series. David Wright had a dreadful Game 2, going 0-3 against Greinke while grounding into two double plays (his other AB was a strikeout). Wright has walked five times in four games but has just one hit, albeit a clutch hit in Game 1 that drove in the game-winning run. Curtis Granderson recorded two hits off Greinke in Game 2 and has been stellar all series long, batting .429 with five RBIs. Wilmer Flores will start his third game of the series; he did not face Greinke in Game 2 as Ruben Tejada was the starting shortstop before he was injured in a controversial play at second base involving Chase Utley in the seventh inning of Game 2. Flores is 3-for-8 against Greinke all-time.
Ninth-inning drama has been hard to come by as both teams’ closers have been excellent in this series. Jeurys Familia of the Mets has yet to allow a hit in 3.1 innings of work, while Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has held the Mets hitless in 2.1 innings.