Dodgers Vs. Mets Game Preview: Second Half Begins With Duel Against Justin Verlander At Citi Field

With the All-Star break behind them, the Los Angeles Dodgers begin the second half of their schedule by playing the New York Mets at Citi Field.

The series opener is the start of a nine-game road trip for the Dodgers, which is going to include matchups with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.

After a difficult June that saw the Dodgers go 12-12, they went into the break with some momentum by winning four of their last five games. The late surge saw the Dodgers go from third in the National League West standings into a tie for first place with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who closed the first half in a 3-5 stretch.

Julio Urías rebounded from a rough start in Kansas City by throwing six innings of two-run ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium on July 6.

For the season, he is 6-5 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. It’s been short of expectations, as Urías’ 92 ERA+ is below league average for the first time since 2017 and his hits per nine innings and home runs per nine are both above career averages.

The Dodgers are counting on the left-hander to get back on track, and history is in their favor. Urías’ 1.79 ERA in the second half is the best mark all-time for pitchers with a minimum of 230 innings.

Urías is opposed by Justin Verlander, who is also not having the kind of season that was anticipated. After winning his third Cy Young Award in 2022 at the age of 39, Father Time may have started to catch up to Verlander.

A muscle strain prevented the veteran from making his season debut until early May. Verlander is 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 12 starts.

Despite boasting the highest payroll in baseball, the Mets have arguably been the most underperforming team this season. They are 42-48, which puts them in fourth place in the competitive NL East division.

The Mets heavily invested in pitching but are just 20th in ERA with a 4.39 mark. Verlander and Kodai Senga are their only two staters who have an ERA+ over 100 (league average).

Offensively, the Mets are 15th in runs scored, 15th in on-base plus slugging percentage and ninth in home runs. Pete Alonso leads the team with 26 home runs, although he is hitting only .211. Francisco Lindor has 19 home runs while hitting .219, and last season’s batting champion Jeff McNeil only has a .253 average.

Tommy Pham has been a pleasant surprise for the Mets, leading the team with a 129 OPS+.

The Dodgers lineup comes in riding a wave of efficiency, scoring 39 runs over their last five games. Mookie Betts may have struggled in the Home Run Derby, but he has smacked nine long balls runs over his last 15 games while batting a robust .365/.471/1.038.

Betts has struggled against Verlander in his career, going 0-for-16.

Prior to the game the Dodgers added newly-signed Jake Marisnick to their active roster and reinstated Chris Taylor from the 10-day injured list. Jonny DeLuca was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Dodgers transferred Shelby Miller to the 60-day IL.

Dodgers lineup

2B: Mookie Betts
1B: Freddie Freeman
C: Will Smith
3B: Max Muncy
DH: J.D. Martinez
LF: David Peralta
RF: Jason Heyward
CF: James Outman
SS: Miguel Rojas

Mets lineup

CF: Brandon Nimmo
DH: Tommy Pham
SS: Fransisco Lindor
1B: Pete Alonso
RF: Starling Marte
2B: Jeff McNeil
C: Francisco Alvarez
3B: Brett Baty
LF: Mark Canha

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