Now is not a good time to be a Mets fan. Injuries to three key everyday players have left the Mets with what looks like a AAA lineup that can’t score any runs. The possible return of Oliver Perez this week sounds like nails scratching on a chalkboard. Oh yeah, and the team with the best record in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, come to town for a three-game set starting Tuesday.
The LA Dodgers, simply put, are the best. They are the best when their best player is on the field, and still the best when he isn’t. The Dodgers held the best record in baseball, 21-8 before Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating MLB’s steroid policy. They were the best team in the NL without him (only the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays held better marks then the Dodgers 29-21 record), and now are back to old form upon his return.
The key for this team is not just Manny. A very well rounded lineup featuring speed at the top (Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson), power in he middle (Ramirez, Eithier, Kemp, Loney), and contact hitters at the bottom (Blake, Martin) has been the glue.
The pitching staff, led by ace Chad Billingsly, and the next Sandy Koufax, Clayton Kershaw, has been dominant as well, combining for a 3.57 ERA.
Player to watch: Manny Ramirez, left field. Ramirez’s impact on the game has been undeniable. He brought the Red Sox two championships and now looks primed to bring the Dodgers their first title since 1988. This season, Manny is hitting .333 with seven home runs and 21 RBI in just 98 at-bats and despite missing 50 games due to suspension, he is tied for seventh in the NL with eight intentional walks. Any team is instantly a contender and probably one of the best in baseball with him in the lineup.
The Mets on the on the other hand are coming off a sweep at the hands of the rival Phillies, pushing them four games back of the division lead, in which we scored a grand total of three runs. Does anything more have to be said? The Dodgers are clearly the class of the NL and might be the best team in baseball while the Mets have become the hapless mutts. Look for the Dodgers to take two out of three and make Mets fans even more miserable then they already are.
The pitching matchups and game times are as follows:
Tuesday, July 7, 7:10 pm
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (5-5 3.49 ERA)
Mets: Mike Pelfrey (6-3 4.26 ERA)
Wednesday, July 8, 7:10 pm
Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda (3-4 3.91 ERA)
Mets: Oliver Perez (1-2 9.97 ERA)
Thursday, July 9th, 7:10pm
Dodgers: Randy Wolf (3-3 3.49 ERA)
Mets: Livan Hernandez (5-4 4.56 ERA)