Mets Thoughts: Mets Trade Punches With Dodgers, Walk Away As Clear Contenders

June 10, 2022
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From: https://thegameday.com; Scott Engel

The Mets-Dodgers series was the first major test for the Mets this season. After a discouraging pair of losses, the 2022 version of the Amazins’ rebounded in the fashion we are starting to become accustomed to. The split proved that the Mets could indeed play on an even level with the team that is universally regarded as the best in the National League. 

We must remember that the calendar has only flipped to the beginning of June, and this four-game set was a deluxe but looser preview of what we may be headed for in October. The Mets will obviously and hopefully have a complete starting rotation by then, which will give them a better chance of staying even when the Dodgers pitching is looking dominant. When falling in place, all these pieces make up for thrilling prop plays to be made.

Mets Go Toe-To-Toe With Dodgers And Stand Even

A Cold Start To The Series Did Not Linger

Regular-season series do not always provide the exact scope of what to expect in a playoff rematch later in the season. As a reminder, we can go back in Mets history to a painful postseason in 1988. That year, the Mets won 10 of 11 games against the Dodgers in the regular season. But Los Angeles prevailed in seven games over the Mets in the National League Championship Series, as Orel Hershiser extinguished any hopes of a second World Series championship series win in the decade. 

This first go-round between the Mets and Dodgers was much like a boxing match, where the two teams were getting a feel for each other, but it didn’t take long before some significant blows landed. By the postseason, though, the ballclubs will know each other much better and will also know themselves better. They will be even better equipped to face each other, and a fall playoff series could be as exciting as a marquee rematch between outstanding fighters. 

In the first two games, the normally tenacious Mets offense seemed tight. This often happens to teams early in a postseason series, where they may struggle at the plate as the intensity is raised. There was no question that this was the most pressure the Mets had faced in any series to this point. As we know, they were shut out for the first time this season and scored one run in the first two games. 

If the Mets were going to have an offensive outage at the beginning of a big series, it was better for it to happen in June than October. This 2022 version of the Mets had its first true taste of a big-game type of atmosphere this past weekend and now can be very confident in knowing that they bounced back from a cold spell and can do the same in any marquee matchups going forward. 

We do have to give the Dodgers pitching a lot of credit for handcuffing the Mets in the first two games, though. Tony Gonsolin has been stellar so far this season. Tyler Anderson kept the Mets hitters off balance with his herky-jerky mechanics. But by October, the Mets will have a much better book on both, especially after having already seen both starters. They may be able to get to them more effectively when it counts even more. 

Mets Spring Back And Affirm Their Status As A National League Power

Taijuan Walker and Chris Bassitt did not pitch badly, but they had no room for error with the offense being tied up. But then the Mets demonstrated playoff form by winning the series’ third game. Down two games in the four-game set, they took on the guy viewed as the ace of the staff and answered back resoundingly. The Mets offense served notice that they wouldn’t be held down any longer and battered Walker Buehler into submission. 

In Sunday’s series finale, the Mets lineup was again stifled for seven innings before the teams entered an epic three-inning tug-of-war between two equally matched National League heavyweights. The Mets’ offense reawakened for three runs in the top of the eighth inning before a move to hold Edwin Diaz out of working a second consecutive inning backfired, and the Dodgers roared back with two runs to tie the game in the ninth inning. 

The Mets refused to go down, though, as this team has so admirably done throughout the first two-plus months of the season. These Mets have a granite chin. They added what proved to be the winning run in the top of the tenth inning before Adonis Medina earned the save in dramatic fashion, setting off a litany of Tone Loc references on social media. 

Medina did have the advantage of facing an opponent that had not seen him previously, but he still walked away with the look of a postseason hero. Any pitcher who can take on and survive the heart of the Los Angeles batting order in a clutch situation must be saluted for sure. 

The first Mets-Dodgers showdown had as much intensity as possible for a regular-season series, providing a good chunk of the electric atmosphere surrounding the teams if they meet again in October. 

What the Mets came away with is confirmation that they can stand up to the Dodgers and won’t have the weak legs that some past editions of the team displayed. The Mets were resilient again, and this time they refused to wilt against an elite opponent. They will also now be firmly ready to take on more big moments as they come. The series against Houston at the end of June is the next big test that they can look forward to with much confidence.