WhatIfSports NLDS Mets vs. Dodgers prediction: L.A. moves on

The Mets vs. Dodgers series was simulated 501 times to determine which team has the edge.

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After an unexpected second-half emergence, the New York Mets are back in the postseason for the first time since 2006. But can they keep the magic going against the Los Angeles Dodgers?

The Dodgers will start the series at home, with Clayton Kershaw ready to face some playoff demons in Game 1. Despite his regular-season brilliance, Kershaw will be trying to earn just the second postseason win of his career, having lost his last four playoff appearances. Kershaw will have the benefit of pitching at home, where he went 11-3 with a 1.67 ERA this season.

Opposing Kershaw will be young ace Jacob deGrom, who will be making his first postseason start. He finished the year 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA. 

Game 2 will feature Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke (19-3, 1.66 ERA) taking on Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24). Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71) will take the mound for the Mets back in New York for Game 3 against Brett Anderson (10-9, 3.69).

Manufacturing runs may be difficult for both lineups given the quality pitching, but both teams might end up swinging for the fences regardless. The Dodgers were 3rd in the NL in home runs, while the Mets were 5th. 

While starting pitching should be the deciding factor in the series, both lineups have a few big bats to avoid. The Dodgers are led by Adrian Gonzalez (.275, 28 HR), and the Mets were carried down the stretch by Yoenis Cespedes (.291, 35 HR).

Which team will come out on top and in the best-of-five series? We use WhatIfSports.com’s MLB simulation engine to play the series 501 times. Check out the results:

Mets vs. Dodgers: 501 Simulations of Best-of-5 Series
Matchup Win % 3 Games % 4 Games % 5 Games %
Mets 44.9 8.0 19.0 18.0
Dodgers 55.1 13.6 19.0 22.6
Simulate New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

This one could go the distance. In 501 series simulations, the Dodgers came away with the win 276 times, good for a 55.1 winning percentage. The most common scenario saw a Dodgers victory in five games, which occurred 22.6 percent of the time. When New York won, the victory most frequently came in four games, occurring 19.0 percent of the time.

Several pitchers were dominant on both sides. Kershaw managed a 2.56 ERA and averaged 0.6 wins per series. Teammate Greinke was nearly as good with a 2.81 ERA and 0.49 wins per series. The Mets benefited from great outings from deGrom (3.37 ERA, 0.45 wins) and Harvey (3.70 ERA, 0.43 wins).

Cespedes paced the Mets with team-bests in batting average (.280), hits (4.68 per series), home runs (1.13), RBI (3.06) and runs (2.67). Gonzalez was a little subpar with a .263 batting average, but still led the Dodgers in homers (0.81) and RBI (2.27). 

For more MLB playoff predictions, view our Rangers vs. Blue JaysAstros vs. Royals and Cubs vs. Cardinals simulations.