Dodgers-Mets Preview –

8 months ago Comments Off on Dodgers-Mets Preview –

Chase Utley expected to be the center of attention in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ first game in New York since last year’s playoffs, but he’ll gladly cede the spotlight to one of one baseball’s most heralded prospects.

Teenager Julio Urias makes his major league debut Friday night as the Dodgers begin a three-game series with the Mets that already contained one intriguing storyline.

With Alex Wood scratched due to a sore triceps, Urias will be promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City and become the first 19-year-old pitcher since Felix Hernandez in 2005 to start an MLB game. He’ll be the youngest Dodger hurler since another Mexican left-handed phenom, Fernando Valenzuela, made his debut at age 19 in September 1980.

Urias earned the call-up with dazzling numbers at Oklahoma City, compiling a 4-1 record and 1.10 ERA in seven starts and one relief appearance while throwing 27 consecutive scoreless innings.

Utley still figures to garner plenty of scrutiny – and hostility from the crowd – if he’s in the lineup for the opener. The veteran second baseman didn’t play the two games at Citi Field that followed his controversial takeout slide in Game 2 of the NLDS that fractured shortstop Ruben Tejada’s right leg.

The Dodgers also dealt with a little additional drama in their just-completed series with Cincinnati, with manager Dave Roberts removing Yasiel Puig from Tuesday’s game after the mercurial outfielder failed to hustle after hitting a line-drive single off the right-field wall. Puig didn’t start Wednesday’s 3-1 win, though Roberts said it was a scheduled day off.

Los Angeles (25-23) otherwise finds itself in good spirits as it enters a challenging seven-game trip against two of the NL’s top teams in the Mets and Chicago. The Dodgers have won a season-high four straight and held the overmatched Reds to three runs in a three-game sweep.

”We got our work cut out for us on this road trip,” Roberts said. ”We feel pretty good about ourselves.”

Matt Harvey‘s ongoing struggles have kept the Mets in the public eye as well. The star pitcher was hit hard again in Tuesday’s 7-4 loss at Washington, though New York (27-19) did earn a series win from their NL East rivals behind another gem from Steven Matz on Wednesday.

Matz yielded four hits over a career-high eight innings in the 2-0 victory to win a seventh consecutive start. The Mets are 13-4 in games started by Matz and Noah Syndergaard and 14-15 in the others.

They’ve lost three of Jacob deGrom‘s last four starts, with the 2015 All-Star going 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA while receiving seven runs over that stretch. He allowed a season-high four in five innings of New York’s 5-4 win over Milwaukee on Saturday.

DeGrom (3-1, 3.07) did hold the Dodgers to two runs over a season-high seven innings in a no-decision May 10. He was a major factor in the Mets’ besting Los Angeles in five games in the NLDS, surrendering two runs and amassing 20 strikeouts in winning both starts.

New York has hit 10 homers in winning five of six. David Wright has gone deep in back-to-back games after going 5 for 36 with one RBI and 17 strikeouts over his previous 10.

“Hopefully I can lock it in mentally, how it kind of feels – the swing, the pitch selection, the rhythm, the timing, and things like that – and start to be more consistent,” he told MLB’s official website.

The teams split a four-game set at Dodger Stadium from May 9-12.

Dodgers-Mets Preview –