The best time of year has finally arrived: postseason baseball, filled with Game 7s and magical moments that become engrained into our memories for years to come.
The New York Mets have earned a spot in the dance against the Los Angeles Dodgers this year. They will face each other in the National League Division Series starting on Friday.
The Mets finished their season 90-72, behind the strength of their young pitching staff and the explosiveness of their veteran offense, earning them the top spot in the National League East for the first time since 2006.
The Dodgers won the National League West for the third straight year, thanks to the All-Star bat of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and Cy Young Award candidate pitchers Zack Grienke and Clayton Kershaw. They finished with a record of 92-70.
The pitching matchups should feature young studs for the Mets in Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Matz, while the Dodgers will throw Greinke and Kershaw, followed by a significant drop-off in talent in Brett Anderson.
It seems like the Mets will have the upper hand in the bullpen and in veteran presence, both of which will undoubtedly be two key factors in the postseason. With the option to go with Bartolo Colon out of the bullpen and Jeurys Familia as their closer, they should feel comfortable in that aspect. Meanwhile, third baseman David Wright, stud outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and former World Series champion infielder Juan Uribe should help lead the Mets lineup against Los Angeles’ aces.
The Dodgers are lacking depth in the bullpen and find a couple slumping youngsters in outfielders Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson in the middle of their lineup. Without a consistent lineup and the lack of a bullpen presence, the Dodgers will be forced to rely on their co-aces. But even that is not something set in stone as Kershaw is 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in the postseason, so a quality start is not guaranteed from the 2014 National League Most Valuable Player and three-time Cy Young winner
Ramapo freshman and Mets fan Tom Hooper is very optimistic about his favorite team’s postseason chances and feels that his team will move to the National League Championship Series.
“I think they win the series; you can’t go into playoffs thinking you’re going to lose. I want to be optimistic since it is the first time we have been division winners since 2006,” said Hooper.
There are many reasons to be optimistic, but the main upper hand that the Dodgers carry over the Mets is that New York coach Terry Collins has never made a trip to the postseason as manager.
Ramapo baseball head coach Rich Martin jokingly said that he could manage the Mets.
“I should be the coach,” said Martin.
This series will be Don Mattingly’s third consecutive postseason as manager; the Dodgers have failed to advance to the NLCS all three years. Therefore, not only are the players playing with something to prove, but the managers will have just as much of a story to tell by the end. This should make for one of the better series in the 2015 postseason and will certainly be the beginning of the magical month of October.
Many people believe that Mattingly’s job is in jeopardy if his Dodgers do not beat the Mets this series.
After a rough end of July, it looked like the Mets would crash and burn, but here they are; 11 wins away from their first World Series title since 1986.