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Dodgers Mets Provide Glimpse to October Baseball

George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Flushing, NY- September is upon us with October baseball creeping in and the two top teams across the National League provided a postseason preview. Fans caught a glimpse of October energy as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets concluded their season series on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. Battling in the rubber match with a thrilling postseason on the horizon, this was baseball at its finest.

The winning elements from both teams resulted in near sell-out crowds on the edge of their seats each game of the series. Mets manager Buck Showalter took notice, and explained how the recent Citi Field atmosphere is exciting for the fans and an overall win for baseball. 

“When we have a full house, I want the hot dogs to be hot. I want the beer to be cold. I want the parking not to be a problem,” Showalter said. “I want them to leave here and go, ‘Boy that was worth it and I want to come again.’” 

In regard to the Mets postseason pitching rotation other than aces Jacob deGrom, and Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt has proven to be New York’s go-to week in and week out. And it showed again on Thursday afternoon. In spite of the power-hitting Dodgers, Bassitt let up only two earned runs on six hits over six innings with four strikeouts. 

George Napolitano/Latino Sports

In 15 of his last 16 outings, the right-hander has allowed four or fewer runs. Although Bassitt has delivered quality starts every five days this season, his mindset is zoned in on October. 

“It’s just another game, if this was the playoffs I’d be saying a whole lot of different things,” Bassitt said. “We have a long way to go, a whole month to go, so it’s just a good win against a good team.”

In crunch time, New York’s ability to put the ball in play pressured LA into several high leverage situations. One key case was in the seventh inning as 2B Gavin Lux and RF Mookie Betts seemed to miscommunicate on a Brandon Nimmo blooper, handing the Mets an insurance run.

George Napolitano/Latino Sports

But overall, Francisco Lindor, recipient of the 2016 American League LatinoMVP, surged the Mets momentum. Lindor smashed a game-tying RBI double in the sixth, finishing the day 2-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. To go further, he completed the three-game series against LA with a .500 batting average (5-10) and a walk. 

“Hopefully, we can make it to the postseason, and if we face them in the postseason, hopefully we can do the same thing,” Lindor said.

As the Mets led 5-2, Showalter decided to call in Edwin Díaz in the eighth inning rather than the ninth, due to the certain batting order coming up in Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Max Muncy. The Mets flamethrower struggled with his command to start off, walking Freeman and hitting Smith, which later in the inning, turned into a sacrifice fly RBI by Justin Turner.

“I was a little bit angry because I wasn’t commanding my slider the way I want to,” Díaz explained. “I said ‘I gotta locate my fastball better’ and that’s what I did in that at-bat.”

George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Uniquely enough, Díaz settled in to such a degree that his final pitch of the inning caught the radar gun at 103 MPH. “He’s the best closer in baseball for a reason,” said Lux, who struck out swinging on the heater. 

Díaz, recipient of the 2018 American League Relief Pitcher LatinoMVP, has recorded a 1.52 ERA over 53.1 innings pitched with 101 strikeouts this season. With those statistics, the Puerto Rican native is on pace to become a two-time LatinoMVP award winner. 

Nonetheless, the Mets came out with the 5-3 victory on Thursday afternoon, completing their first season series win over the Dodgers since 2015. Similarly enough, the same year Los Angeles and New York faced off in a classic NLDS that went the distance to all five games. Perhaps, a telling sign, the Dodgers and Mets meet again this October. 

“They got a really good team. We showed them we have a really good team, too,” Diaz said. “That’s the team we might play in the playoffs.”

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Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports

Follow on Twitter: @RobertRiz994


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