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Dodgers-Mets series exceeded the hype. What did it teach us?

By Deesha Thosar
FOX Sports MLB Writer

NEW YORK — Three of 162.

The battle-tested Mets confronted the juggernaut Dodgers this week in a three-game series that felt like it had slightly of every thing — and mainly, a playoff really feel. Sharp pitching matchups. Fastballs that hit 102 mph. Clutch residence runs. Key saves. Incredible catches. Trumpets

In the finish, it was the Mets, the second-best workforce in the National League, who gained the season’s series in opposition to the Dodgers, the workforce with the finest document (90-40) in baseball. It was the Mets who handed their litmus check — splitting the four-game series in June in Los Angeles and taking two out of three this week at Citi Field. 

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Once it was throughout, gamers on each groups agreed on one factor: This three-game matchup was simply one other series. The outcomes of their much-anticipated clashes will imply zilch come elimination time. 

For two groups with World Series aspirations, these battles may need had a postseason really feel, however they have been no playoffs. Both groups referred to as it what it was: three video games out of 162.

That tells us the Mets and Dodgers are locked into an unshakeable mindset proper now. These groups need us to consider they paid minimal consideration to the sold-out crowds and intangible vitality that swept via Vin Scully Avenue and Tom Seaver Way in June and August, respectively. That’s all effectively and good for the groups, however for the gargantuan fan bases, this series meant one thing. 

For followers, this series lived as much as the hype. And it made everybody ponder whether these outcomes — once more, the Mets successful 4 video games out of seven — had a component of foreshadowing for a possible National League Championship Series between New York and L.A.

Sure, there was some aggressive home-field benefit concerned with Australian musician Timmy Trumpet amping up the Citi Field crowd with a dwell efficiency of “Narco” for Edwin Díaz‘s nine-pitch save on Wednesday. But the Mets have been undeniably electrical, from Díaz to Jacob deGrom‘s seven innings of one-run ball to Mark Canha‘s fourth residence run in 10 video games, all of which introduced the home down. 

Those three moments, specifically, felt like the Mets have been shutting the door on the Dodgers for good. Yet at the similar time, New York was simply giving Los Angeles a glimpse of the tenacity it may deliver this postseason. 

“They’ve acquired good pitching. We’ve acquired good pitching,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman mentioned. “It’s going to be like that if we do face them in the playoffs. This is what is going on to occur with two good groups.”

About two hours earlier than first pitch on Wednesday, Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned, definitely, going through deGrom is a problem for his workforce — for any workforce. But Roberts was additionally treating the Dodgers-Mets series a bit like a research session, making an attempt to collect helpful data for an examination in the playoffs. The approach that deGrom would method pitching to the Dodgers’ lineup, for example, was important data for Roberts and his teaching employees in case they see him once more in October.

“There’s a sure approach that they wish to assault every man individually,” Roberts mentioned. “So I feel that is definitely useful. And only for the hitter, to see how the ball is popping out. He’s clearly sitting at 99-100 [mph], and the slider is 93 [mph]. Just to type of put eyes on him I feel could be very useful.”

Roberts wasn’t the just one taking notes with an eye fixed towards the playoffs. Mets ace deGrom, after a nine-strikeout efficiency that helped decrease his ERA to 1.98, mentioned: “You most likely pay slightly nearer consideration to this and what they appeared to be on and what [they] weren’t, and take slightly psychological be aware to that.” 

Dodgers proper fielder Mookie Betts‘ residence run off deGrom in the sixth inning Wednesday was a blueprint for the best way to make him pay for a pricey mistake. DeGrom, in spite of everything, is barely human. No matter how uncommon, he’ll mess up now and again, and it was Los Angeles’ job to pounce on these missteps. DeGrom missed together with his slider, and Betts despatched it to left-center for his thirty second homer of the 12 months. While it was gratifying for Betts — who later described deGrom as “perhaps the finest to ever pitch” — it was telling that it took his elite hitting acumen to garner simply that one run off the Mets’ ace.

But the Dodgers additionally discovered that, in opposition to this well-rounded 2022 Mets squad, it’s not at all times as straightforward as capitalizing on errors. When Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner punished deGrom for a belt-high fastball, Mets middle fielder Brandon Nimmo chased down a rocket to the right-center area wall, leaped and robbed Turner of a game-tying residence run. It was simply the finest catch of Nimmo’s profession. He was delighted to assist deGrom by taking a house run off his ledger, however the middle fielder took extra pleasure in the significance of the play, in that he prevented the Dodgers from tying the sport and stealing the momentum.   

“We’re workforce, too. We know that,” Nimmo mentioned of going through the Dodgers. “Don’t get me incorrect, they’re an amazing workforce, and so they have been for some time. So nothing could be taken away from them. But we do really feel like we match up effectively. It’s been good video games that we have performed in opposition to them. It’s two actually good groups getting collectively and taking part in. It looks like playoff baseball.”

Now that the Mets and Dodgers have confronted one another for the final time in the common season, the two groups have totally different duties with a month remaining earlier than October baseball. 

The Dodgers, with a ridiculous 18-game lead in the NL West, have the advantage of giving their on a regular basis gamers some relaxation earlier than the nonstop electrical energy of the postseason. Key gamers  comparable to Freeman and Trea Turner, who’ve performed each single sport this season, will get some days off this month. But the Dodgers don’t want relaxation days to imply they’re taking a lackadaisical method to finish the common season. Instead, they wish to discover a strategy to give their stars much-needed relaxation whereas additionally maintaining their edge. It’s a difficult endeavor that can also be a privilege. 

Mets middle fielder Brandon Nimmo reacts after stealing a house run in opposition to the Dodgers on Wednesday, serving to to safe New York’s 2-1 victory. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Mets supervisor Buck Showalter, for example, doesn’t have the benefit of giving his gamers some days off. The Braves have been threatening to take New York’s first-place standing for the higher a part of the 12 months, so the Mets can’t afford to take their foot off the gasoline as they attempt to win their first NL East title since 2015. 

Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, who’re tied for the most video games performed (131) for New York, are important to reaching that aim. But they are going to be much more important in October, when their well being and expertise will likely be of utmost significance in the Mets’ quest to finish their 36-year championship drought. 

“I’ve mentioned this about the Braves, and I’ll say this about the Dodgers,” Mets right-hander Chris Bassitt mentioned. “It’s not who we play. This shouldn’t be the playoffs. I do know it will not be cool for the followers, however it’s simply one other sport. If this was the playoffs, I’d be saying an entire lot of various issues. We have an extended strategy to go. We have an entire month to go. So it’s only a good win in opposition to workforce. That’s it.”

Deesha Thosar is an MLB author for FOX Sports. She beforehand coated the Mets for the New York Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

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