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Mets Series Review: Winning a Split

The Mets' ten-game road trip began poorly as Francisco Lindor could not play in the opener after slamming his hand in a door. The Mets went into the road trip with a six-game winning streak after completing a perfect home stand with sweeps of the Phillies and the Nationals. The trip that includes a series with the Padres and Angels started with four games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a battle of the two best teams in the National League, where the Mets would need to prove if they could play with perennial favorites to win the pennant. 

The measuring stick series began on Thursday with Taijuan Walker on the mound against Tony Gonsolin, who had been one of the best pitchers for the Dodgers in 2022. Walker did well to keep the Mets in the game, but the Dodgers scored the game's first run in the fifth inning with three consecutive hits. The Dodgers added a second run in the sixth, as Walker allowed two runs on seven hits in five and two-third innings pitched. Gonsolin allowed two hits in six innings as the Mets became the final team to get shutout in 2022. 

Chris Bassitt started the second game of the series for the Mets, while the Dodgers countered with Tyler Aderson, who was unbeaten on the season like Tony Gonsolin. Bassitt gave up a pair of two-run home runs, first to Cody Bellinger in the second inning and Zach McKinstry in the fourth. In the seventh inning, the Mets finally got on the board with a Pete Alonso home run, but the Dodgers got the run back on an infield single by Trea Turner. 

The Mets lost the second game 6-1, as they suffered jet lag. Francisco Lindor returned to the lineup, despite a fractured finger as his ten-game RBI streak ended. Chris Bassitt took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits. The Mets looked terrible in the two losses, and the weekend did not bring promising results as the Mets had pitchers who were not expected to be in the rotation going against proven Dodgers aces.    

On Saturday, the Mets had David Peterson going against Walker Buehler. Francisco Lindor struck an early blow with a home run in the first inning. In the second inning, the Dodgers scored four runs to take the lead, as a Pete Alonso throwing error opened the door. The big blow was a three-run double by Mookie Betts. Alonso, whose error allowed the Dodgers to score four runs, struck the big blow with a two-out home run to get the lead back. The Mets, as they often have this season, answered with four runs in the third to knock Buehler out of the game.   

The Mets added a run with a home run from Eduardo Escobar in the fourth inning. The extra run would not benefit David Peterson. Peterson did not allow another run but continued to struggle with command, as he issued four walks and had thrown 90 pitches in the fourth inning. After Mookie Betts hit a two-out pitch near the foul pole, Buck Showalter decided to make a change and called on Colin Holderman to get the biggest out of the inning, striking out Betts to preserve the Mets' 6-4 lead. 

The Mets broke the game open in the seventh inning as Pete Alonso hit a three-run home run to enter the franchise's top-ten list in dingers. Colin Holderman earned the win, as the Mets won the game 9-4, using six relievers to keep the Dodgers at bay. However, a Dodgers reliever provided the moment of the game, as Dave Roberts attempted to use Zach McKinstry, a position player in the ninth inning, to preserve his bullpen. However, under MLB rules, they were not allowed as the game was only a five-run deficit. 

The Mets went into Sunday looking for a remarkable split with Trevor Williams facing Julio Urias. The Dodgers struck first as Trea Turner homered off Williams in the first inning. The Mets got one run back with a home run by Starling Marte in the second inning. The Mets did not get a second run againstUrias but ran up his pitch count, forcing the Dodgers to go into the bullpen in the sixth inning. The Mets would break through in the eighth inning scoring three runs to take a 4-2 lead. The rally started with back-to-back doubles from Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. They took the lead on a sac-fly by Eduardo Escobar and added another on an RBI single by Tomas Nido. 

Staked to a 4-2 lead, Buck Showalter decided that the big outs would be in the eighth inning, so he called in Edwin Diaz, who retired Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Trea Turner to send the game to the ninth. Instead of having Diaz pitch two innings, Showalter called on Seth Lugo to get the save. It was clear that Lugo would not have an easy inning, as Will Smith hit a leadoff home run to cut the Mets' lead to 4-3. Lugo got the next two batters, but Chris Taylor hit a double and scored on a single by Eddy Alvarez to tie the game. Gavin Lux lined out to right as the game went into extra innings. 

Craig Kimbrell pitched a second inning for the Dodgers, as Pete Alonso was the Mets' ghost runner in the tenth inning, scoring on a double by J.D. Davis. However, the Mets could not add to the lead as Eduardo Escobar lined into a double play. The Mets led 5-4 and had Adonis Medina on the mound, facing the Dodgers' biggest bats. Medina got Mookie Betts on a fly ball to right, a ball that was hit too short for Gavin Lux to tag as Starling Marte's arm would have surely nailed him at third. Medina would get Freddie Freeman to ground into the shift, advancing Lux to third but getting a second out. 

With two outs, Trea Turner stood at the plate. Turner had his 26-game hitting streak end on Saturday. Now he could have been the winning run. With an 0-1 count, Turner argued for catcher's interference and was given first base after a review. Will Smith now could win the game, as Turner stole second. However, Medina struck out Smith to earn the first save of his career as the Mets won the game 5-4.

The Mets split proved that the Mets belong on the same field as the Dodgers and could lay the foundation for a thrilling NLCS if they meet again in October.