Did the Los Angeles Dodgers wake a sort-of sleeping giant up when Chase Utley took out New York Mets' shortstop Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of their NLDS matchup?
The Mets pounded the Dodgers last night in a 13-7 win, and they can avoid a cross-country trip back to L.A. if they can take Game 4 tonight in Citi Field. In order to do that, however, they'll have to beat Clayton Kershaw again as the left-hander takes the mound tonight against rookie left-hander Steven Matz with the Dodgers' season on the line.
In his Game 1 start, Kershaw was outdueled by Jacob deGrom, giving up four hits, four walks and three earned runs and striking out 11 over 6 ⅔ IP while deGrom tossed seven scoreless, striking out 13 in a 3-1 win.
Kershaw talked yesterday, in his pre-start press conference about knowing he's going up against a hot-hitting team like the Mets, when asked how they compared to some of his previous postseason opponents.
"I don't know specifically if there's any more problems with one team or the other," he said.
"I mean the Mets have been swinging the bats really well since the trade deadline. You know, we all know that.
"Guys in the middle of their lineup can do some damage. They can hit the ball out of the ballpark. But as far as comparatively, to the other teams, I don't know that there's one huge glaring strength over another."
As for pitching on short rest like he will be tonight, Kershaw said it's something he's done before, so he'll be prepared.
"I mean, I think, you know, the adrenaline takes over," he explained. "You don't really feel tired or anything like that.
"You know, it's the playoffs. So it doesn't really -- obviously your routines change a little bit, different things like that, but as far as being prepared, being ready for it, I'll be fine come tomorrow."
As for Matz? The Mets' 24-year-old, '09 2nd Round pick debuted in the majors this summer, going (4-0) in six regular season starts with a 2.27 ERA, a 3.61 FIP, 10 walks (2.52 BB/9) and 34 Ks (8.58 K/9) in 35 ⅔ IP, though a back issue that cropped up last week made him a question mark for tonight's start until earlier this week. He also dealt with a lat tear earlier this season.
Matz told reporters he was comfortable taking the mound in spite of the fact that he hasn't started in 19 days, and he did throw a simulated game recently.
"I felt really good and strong finishing up in the intrasquad game down in Florida," Matz said. "So I'm happy with how that went. I threw a bullpen yesterday and still feeling good. So yeah, everything is good."
Matz will take the mound for his first postseason start at 8:00 PM EDT in Citi Field...
|LOS ANGELES DODGERS||NEW YORK METS|
|Enrique Hernandez - CF||Curtis Granderson - RF|
|Howie Kendrick - 2B||David Wright - 3B|
|Adrian Gonzalez - 1B||Daniel Murphy - 2B|
|Justin Turner - 3B||Yoenis Cespedes - LF|
|Corey Seager - SS||Travis d'Arnaud - C|
|Yasiel Puig - RF||Lucas Duda - 1B|
|A.J. Ellis - C||Wilmer Flores - SS|
|Justin Ruggiano - LF||Juan Lagares - CF|
|Clayton Kershaw - LHP||Steven Matz - LHP|
Matz vs the Dodgers:
Kershaw vs the Mets: