What Happened, In One Sentence
Trayce Thompson came off the bench with two outs to hit a walkoff homer off Hansel Robles. Dodgers win 3-2.
Get Your Runs Early!
Most of last night’s offense came before fans on the East Coast would consider turning off the TV and going to bed. Jacob deGrom got the start after struggling with his mechanics in San Diego. The Dodgers looked for deGrom to pound the strike zone with fastballs to get straightened out. Chase Utley and Corey Seager both went with outside fastballs to open the game with a pair of line drive doubles. Two batters later Adrian Gonzalez continued the “left-handed batters try to drive deGrom to the opposite field game plan” with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 before Yasmani Grandal grounded to second base to end the threat.
The Mets came back in the top of the second inning with a single from Yoenis Cespedes and then a soft grounder up the middle that Wilmer Flores legged out for an infield single. With two runners on, the Dodgers couldn’t over-shift against Michael Conforto (batting sixth against a lefty). Conforto pulled a ball deep to the second base hole. Utley got the ball, turned around and fired past Seager and into the outfield. Cespedes scored on the play and Flores was able to take third. He scored on a Kevin Plawecki single to left. With a tie game and two on, the Mets were unable to get a lead.
Pitchers Settle Down
Los Angeles threatened again in the second as Joc Pederson hit another double to the opposite field gap and Yasiel Puig smashed a chopper to third that David Wright stopped but couldn’t throw Puig out. Carl Crawford rolled a pitch over to advance the runners but deGrom hunkered down and found his best command of the night to strike out Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood and Utley. deGrom faced runners on second and third again the next inning after a Grandal double. Left-handed hitters had only gotten one extra base hit off deGrom before last night’s start, but Grandal’s was already the fourth of the game. deGrom made a good adjustment and threw Pederson an inside changeup on 3-2 to catch him looking and end the threat. Cespedes’ stellar arm helped settle things down in the middle innings, with a leaping catch at the warning track to deny Puig and a 91.8 mph strike from the warning track to gun down Gonzalez on what should have been an automatic double.
Meanwhile, the Mets platoon-heavy lineup struggled against Wood. Juan Lagares led off and played right field, going 2-for-4. With Flores filling in for an injured Neil Walker, Eric Campbell got the call to fill in for Lucas Duda. Wood, who has struggled in a Dodgers uniform, was relegated to long relief in the NLDS last year and entered Tuesday’s game with a negative WARP. Last night may have been Wood’s best outing as a Dodger, striking out nine batters over six and one-third innings. He got a few calls early on pitches low and away to right handers, and then the Mets hitters started chasing pitches for the rest of the game.
Battle of the Bullpens
Los Angeles once again has a shaky bullpen outside of closer Kenley Jansen. Lagares singled in the eighth off of Javier Baez and Asdrubal Cabrera was nicked in the elbow by a pitch. Baez came back to strike out Wright with a 98 mph fastball and Cespedes with a slider out of the zone. The Mets turned to Antonio Bastardo for the third straight day and he immediately ran in to problems. Seager lined a double to right and the Mets intentionally walked Justin Turner to keep facing left-handed hitters. The gambit worked. Grandal lined a ball to Conforto in left in between routine grounders from Gonzalez and Pederson. Jansen threw a 1-2-3 ninth and Robles got the first two hitters before Thompson’s game winning home run.
No Retaliation With Utley
This was the first game with Chase Utley in the starting lineup against the Mets since he broke Ruben Tejada’s leg on an infamous slide in the playoffs last year. The Mets did not attempt any form of retaliation, brushback pitches or hard slides in to second. Mets fans got to enjoy Utley’s error, which played a major role in both runs.
Cespedes Injury Scare
In the top of the fifth inning, Lagares slipped off the top of the first base bag on a routine pickoff attempt. Cespedes was the next hitter to reach base. Wood threw over for a routine pickoff and Cespedes tried to avoid stepping on the bag. He tried to jam his left foot on the side of the base instead and turned an ankle as his momentum carried him over. After a minute he stayed in the game. The Dodgers eventually cleaned the base.
Another night game in Los Angeles, as Noah Syndergaard faces Kenta Maeda.
Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA Today Sports