The stage is set for Game 2 of this four game set between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Once the headlining team in the National League this year, the Dodgers have lost their best players to injury, currently trying to make do without Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
Right now, the Mets can kick the while their down to make up ground on the Washington Nationals and to gain ground on the tumbling Miami Marlins.
Last night’s Met win sent the Dodgers further into a downward slide. They have now lost five in a row and nine of their last 10. They have played their way out of first place in the west for the time being with the San Francisco Giants overtaking them by a game.
The Mets have been a roller coaster by definition, with their varying ups and downs over the last month. The goal of this series, besides winning it, would be to introduce some stability into the mix. The team needs a better idea of its direction for the season.
R,A, Dickey will aim to rebound from his less than stellar start against the Yankees last weekend. With a win tonight, Dickey would be the first pitcher in the Majors to reach 12 wins in 2012, and what a feat that would be before the All-Star break.
New York Mets
1) Andres Torres CF
2) Ruben Tejada SS
3) David Wright 3B
4) Ike Davis 1B
5) Lucas Duda RF
6) Daniel Murphy 2B
7) Kirk Nieuwenhuis LF
8 ) Josh Thole C
9) R.A. Dickey RHP
Los Angeles Dodgers
1) Dee Gordon SS
2) Elian Herrera 3B
3) Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
4) Bobby Abreu LF
5) A.J. Ellis C
6) James Loney 1B
7) Scott Van Slyke RF
8 ) Tony Gwynn Jr. CF
9) Aaron Harang RHP
NYM: R.A. Dickey 11-1, 2.31 ERA) Even after his struggles last weekend against the Yankees, Dickey’s numbers are nothing short of absurd. He is sitting pretty tonight against a Dodger lineup marred by injury. If he gets comfortable with his knuckleball tonight, it could be another big night for him. He is gunning for his twelfth win of the season, which would make him the first pitcher in the Majors to reach that mark this year. His three complete games lead the league and his pitched at least six innings in all but one of his 15 starts this year. He just needs to be wary and ensure everyone that his troubles against the Yankees was just a blip.
LAD: Aaron Harang (5-4 3.81 ERA) Here is a guy that quietly meets his expectations and posts respectable numbers when needed. After about three years of struggles in Cincinnati, Harang has pulled it together the past two seasons with the Padres, and now the Dodgers. Control has been an issue of late. Two starts ago, Harang walked eight in start in which he came up just shy of four innings. He does throw hard, but his style promotes wildness at times. The Mets have to know that going into tonight’s game.
Stache Keys to the Game
- Knuckle it up. If Dickey’s pitching comes out finely tooled tonight, it will be smooth sailing.
- Patience at the plate will be a necessity because you can draw the walks from Harang, you can stand in at the plate for a long at bat. Let Dodgers pitching do all the work tonight.
- Keep the bats warmed up though. Ike Davis and Dan Murphy showed signs of life the other night and can hopefully continue to put a stop to this drought on offense.
Slated for a 10:10 PM ET start, catch the game live on SNY and WFAN 660.