The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets wrap a three-game weekend series on Sunday night in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The primetime showdown features a pair of teams with October aspirations. The Dodgers have already clinched the NL West and are now just prepping for what they hope to be a deep run through October, resulting in a World Series title. As for the Mets, they’re just hoping to get there, making this home game against the NL’s best team a much more important game for them to win.
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- Date and Time: Sunday, September 15, 2019, 7:05 p.m. ET
- Location: Citi Field, New York, New York
- 2019 MLB Betting Odds at Betcris: (Check Back Later)
- Dodgers vs. Mets 2019 MLB TV Coverage: ESPN
The Dodgers would appear to have the edge on the mound—at least to start the game—in this one as they send All-Star right-hander Walker Buehler to the mound opposite the Mets’ Zack Wheeler.
Los Angeles’ second year hurler makes this start fresh off a dazzling seven-inning performance against a lackluster Orioles’ squad. That game was the NL West division clincher for the Boys in Blue as Buehler struck out 11 batters in the contest. He now has 201 on the MLB season in just 166.1 innings of work.
The 24-year old leads the Dodgers in innings. He’s also the team leader in FIP at 2.83, ahead of the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
It’s really been a remarkable sophomore season for the righty as he’s 13-3 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.016 WHIP. He’s got a stunning 7.18 K:BB ratio as he’s only allowed 28 walks this season. He’s also done well keeping the ball in the yard, despite it being a record-breaking year for home runs overall.
Buehler’s record is impressive, but the Dodgers’ record in his starts is also quite impressive as they’re 18-9 when he takes the ball, including winning each of his last four starts. In his last six starts, Buehler has held the opposition scoreless in four games though the other two he did combine to allow 11 runs in nine innings. Still, he’s generally lights out, but can give it up from time-to-time.
As for Wheeler, he’s coming into this game during a strong stretch. He’s pitched to a 1.50 ERA in his last three starts despite allowing more than his share of hits in that time.
On the MLB season, the pending free agent is 11-7 with a 4.21 ERA. The 29-year old righty has thrown 173.1 innings while allowing a 1.310 WHIP. His BABIP is a bit inflated though he’s done well limiting walks and has a solid 3.61 FIP showing he’s pitched in a bit of bad luck.
The Mets are 16-12 when Wheeler takes the mound and 6-2 since the start of August. He snapped out of a cold spell with three straight strong performances, allowing just a single run in each game.
The bullpen is the one area that the Dodgers may be vulnerable. Even so, they have the third best bullpen ERA in the NL. The Mets, meanwhile, sit near the bottom with a 5.12 bullpen ERA.
Of late, the Mets’ bullpen arms have been a bit better. Edwin Diaz remains a huge disappointment, but Justin Wilson and Seth Lugo have been strong options, each with a sub-2 ERA since the Alll-Star break.
Jeurys Familia looked like he turned the corner for a while but had a rough couple outings earlier in the September though he has thrown three straight scoreless innings since then.
There are a few pieces for Mickey Callaway out of the pen. It’s not as bleak as it was earlier in the season, but it’s still far from a strength of this team. Diaz and Familia were supposed to lockdown the final two innings of the game. Instead, they’ve been bad and the entire pen has been misaligned as a result. Lugo and Wilson have slid into late game roles, but there’s very little around them.
As for the Dodgers, Kenley Jansen hasn’t been as lights out this season as he has in his career, but he’s still had a much better season than Diaz. He’s got a 3.79 ERA and 28 saves. He can still get the swing-and-miss when needed.
Leading up to him, Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia have been two of the main options. After a slow start, Joe Kelly had a lights-out run for a while, but has allowed four runs over his last four innings. Since coming off via trade, Adam Kolarek has been amazing with a single earned run allowed in his 18 games.
One thing the Dodgers do have is incredible depth in the rotation. That depth has started to see time in the pen in preparation for October.
Dustin May, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda and others are all seeing time in the pen.
The Dodgers are the best offensive team in the National League, full stop. The Yankees, Twins, Astros and Red Sox have outscored Los Angeles on the season and New York, Minnesota and Houston each have a better team OPS, but no team in the NL can match them, including the Mets.
As of Thursday, Los Angeles had outscored the Mets by nearly 100 runs on the season. In addition, L.A. boasts a .816 team OPS to the Mets’ .771.
One of the biggest strengths for the Dodgers’ offense is the depth. Max Muncy is expected back for the Mets’ series. He has a .899 OPS and 135 OPS+ this season with 33 homers and 87 RBI in 129 games. That’s a huge bat, but he’s not alone. In fact, he’s one of five active players with an OPS+ of at least 130 along with Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, David Freese and Will Smith.
Dave Roberts has a ton of versatile players and interchangeable parts and has become a master at putting his players in a position to succeed.
Even with Alex Verdugo out, the team still has 11 players with an OPS+ of at least 105 and has three players with at least 30 homers. Turner is a few off the pace with 27.
Bellinger, of course, leads the way for this team. With Christian Yelich going down with an injury for the Brewers, Bellinger looks like a shoo-in for the MVP with his .303/.407/.634 slash line. He has 44 homers and 106 RBI along with 109 runs scored.
Much like the Dodgers, the Mets have a handful of top end performers with Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil at the top.
Alonso has had a monster rookie season and has already eclipsed Bellinger’s NL rookie record for homers with his 47. He’s driven in 109 batters and has a 151 OPS+. McNeil is just behind with a 147 OPS+ showing some power with 20 dingers, but also batting .325 and adding 35 doubles.
Along with those two, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Wilson Ramos and even Amed Rosario have been swinging well. That’s a solid lineup and one of few that can come remotely close to the Dodgers in the NL. The Mets have swung the bats better in the second half where they’ve closed the gap, but L.A. still has a bit more depth.
Whether looking at recent trends or what they’ve done over the season, no matter how you slice it, the Dodgers are the best team in the senior circuit.
L.A. is almost unbeatable at home so this one being playing in New York at least gives the Mets a chance, though the Dodgers still have a respectable .535 winning percentage on the road.
Los Angeles took three of four against the Mets earlier this season and have won six of their last nine games. On the downside, however, they’re just 3-5 in their last eight road games.
As for the Mets, they’ve been a different team in the second half with a 35-20 record. They’re also a better home team with a .586 winning percentage at home a better mark than the Dodgers have on the road.
The Mets also come into play having won their last series, topping Arizona.
The Mets of the second half are a much more formidable team than their overall record would indicate, but the Dodgers still have the edge in this one, even on the road.
While Buehler has had a couple tough outings, he’s been the better pitcher this season comparing the starters. Look for him to have another strong, quality start on Sunday, setting up the Dodger bullpen for success after him.
While the Mets may be able to get a few runs against Buehler, he’ll keep the ball in the yard and limit the free passes, making the Mets work for their runs.
As for the Dodgers, they’ll score their share of runs, they always do. Even over his last three games where the results have been good, Wheeler has allowed a few too many hits. The Dodgers are the type of team to do the little things right and turn those hits and baserunners into runs.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets Pick: Look for the Dodgers to get the road victory over the Mets on Sunday night.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets Score Prediction: Dodgers 6, Mets 3