The mismatch in Flushing, N.Y.
I know this is going to make a lot of Mets fans angry, but I feel like somebody needs to say this so I'm just going to say it...
Game 4 in New York is a mismatch, and the mismatch doesn't favor the home team. For the first six or seven innings, anyway.
A lot of fans, and especially a lot of Mets fans, are going to look at the ERA's of tonight's starting pitchers ...
2.12 Clayton Kershaw
2.27 Steven Matz
and they're going to figure, well, that's basically the same. Then they'll probably figure in the Mets' home-field advantage, and quite possibly Kershaw's career 4.99 postseason ERA. Oh, and for sure the Mets' blowout victory in Game 3.
Put all that in a box, tie it up with a whole bunch of good strong twine, and then toss it off a bridge. Because it doesn't mean anything.
If you want to find some meaning, look at the real abilities of the respective starting pitchers.
We know that Clayton Kershaw's fundamentally the same pitcher as his ERA this season.
Steven Matz is not. He's a fine prospect, in the long term. But that ERA, compiled in just six major-league starts, is a short-term mirage. Looking at Matz's Deserved Run Average and his recent minor-league performance, he's something like two runs worse than Kershaw. So let's try that again:
2.10 Clayton Kershaw
4.10 Steven Matz
Still think it's basically the same? Still think the Dodgers shouldn't be huge favorites, as these things go?
But don't give up, Mets fans! Kershaw's pitching on short rest, which historically hasn't meant good things for guys. Also, as these things go? Baseball means not knowing exactly how things will go.
All I'm saying is that if I've got tickets for Game 5 in Dodger Stadium, I'm lining up a babysitter already.