With a thrilling comeback and walk-off on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers are now in position to clinch a series win against the New York Mets. At minimum, the Dodgers are guaranteed to avoid their first series loss since losing two of three to the San Francisco Giants from April 29-May 1.
After three matchups billed as pitcher’s duels, the four-game set at Dodger Stadium concludes with what appears to be lopsided in the Dodgers’ favor. Of course, given how the first three games of the series played out, it would be fitting that the finale also goes against the grain.
Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound for his 11th start of the season, entering 7-1 with a 1.65 ERA, 2.62 FIP and 0.83 WHIP. He leads the Majors in ERA, ERA+ (254) and strikeouts to walk ratio (15.5) and is tied for the National League lead in wins.
Ryu’s career dominance at Dodger Stadium has carried into 2019, as he’s gone 5-0 with a 1.22 ERA in five home outings. One key to track is Ryu has not allowed a home run in his last 41 innings pitched. The Mets have at least one home run in their past 10 games.
On the pitching side, New York counters with their own left-hander in Jason Vargas, who has settled in after a rough beginning to the season. Vargas enters just 1-2 and with a 5.22 ERA but has allowed one run in four of his past five outings.
Although matching up against a southpaw, the Dodgers lineup features a balance of right- and left-handed hitters. Among them is Matt Beaty who shifts out to left field for the first time in his young career. Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo are other lefties starting.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he considered starting Beaty at third base but opted to keep his infield duties to first base for the time being.
Justin Turner is not in the lineup after playing the past four games. Roberts nearly removed him after seven innings on Tuesday but kept Turner in and the decision paid off as he hit a key double in the ninth.
Though, Turner experienced some hamstring tightness when scoring. That was a factor in keeping him out of Thursday’s lineup. “I don’t think it’s severe,” Roberts mentioned. “Just want to make sure we stay on top of it.”
SS: Chris Taylor
3B: Max Muncy
1B: David Freese
RF: Cody Bellinger
2B: Kiké Hernandez
CF: Alex Verdugo
C: Russell Martin
LF: Matt Beaty
P: Hyun-Jin Ryu
SS: Amed Rosario
LF: J.D. Davis
RF: Michael Conforto
1B: Pete Alonso
3B: Todd Frazier
CF: Carlos Gomez
2B: Adeiny Hechavarria
C: Tomas Nido
P: Jason Vargas