After dropping the first game of the series, the Los Angeles Dodgers bounced back for two consecutive wins to take the series from the Toronto Blue Jays, and finish 3-2 on their five-game road trip.
Now the Dodgers open a nine-game homestand on Monday, beginning with a four-game set against the New York Mets. It’s the first meeting between the two clubs since New York eliminated the Dodgers with a home loss in Game 5 of the 2015 National League Division Series.
The rematch kicks off with newcomer Scott Kazmir taking the mound for the Dodgers. While Kazmir may be new to the Dodgers-Mets rivalry, he was taken No. 15 overall by New York in the 2002 draft.
The southpaw got knocked around a bit by the Tampa Bay Rays in his last start, but still managed to earn his first win since debuting with the Dodgers on April 5.
Kazmir threw 6.2 innings, allowing seven hits, two home runs and four runs. He did manage to collect a season-high nine strikeouts. In six starts this season, Kazmir is a 2-2 with a 5.68 ERA, 5.09 FIP and 1.36 WHIP.
He’s 2-1 in three lifetime starts against the Mets, posting a 4.80 ERA (eight runs allowed over 15 innings pitched) and 1.33 WHIP. One bright spot is Kazmir’s 22 strikeouts to four walks in the three starts, though he last faced the Mets in 2014.
Kazmir is opposed by Steven Matz, who makes his sixth start of the season. Matz is coming off 7.2 shutout innings, allowing two hits and collecting eight strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves in a win.
The young left-hander has faced Los Angeles once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. He threw six scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium in July 2015, tallying eight strikeouts and improving to 2-0 in just his second career Major League start.
Matz then started Game 4 of the NLDS at Citi Field, but was removed after just five innings pitched. He allowed six hits and three runs, and suffered a loss. On the season, Matz is 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.
Although Matz’s splits suggest otherwise, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts again sends out a lineup with plenty of right-handed batters. Roberts explained the decision as using the opportunity to get some players rest with a slew of right-handers listed as probables in games ahead.
Kiké Hernandez starts in left field and is hitting leadoff, while Trayce Thompson is in center field. Hernandez is batting .308/.438/.615 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBIs in 32 plate appearances against left-handers.
He’s cooled off considerably since early success. Lefties are batting .379/.455/.414 in 33 plate appearances against Matz. New York is 19-11 and sitting in first place in the NL East; the Mets have won 11 of their last 15 games.
LF: Kiké Hernandez
2B: Howie Kendrick
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
3B: Justin Turner
RF: Yasiel Puig
CF: Trayce Thompson
C: A.J. Ellis
SS: Charlie Culberson
P: Scott Kazmir
RF: Curtis Granderson
SS: Asdrubel Cabrera
3B: David Wright
LF: Yoenis Cespedes
1b: Lucas Duda
CF: Juan Lagares
2B: Wilmer Flores
C: Kevin Plawecki
P: Steven Matz