This is what Mets fans feared when Chase Utley crashed into Ruben Tejada in Game 2, which jumpstarted a four run rally by Los Angeles that led to a Mets loss. The fear: in order to win this series, the Mets would have to go through both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke for a second time. It was hard enough trying to do that the first time -- now the Mets have to try to do it a second time after Kershaw dominated the Mets over seven innings of work on Tuesday in the Dodgers 3-1 win in Game 4, forcing a deciding Game 5 in Los Angeles.
The good news for the Mets, they will have Jacob deGrom going for them in Game 5 against Grienke.
For Kershaw this game was pure vindication. After years of hearing it from fans across the country that he was a choke artist in big games, and with the Dodgers season on the line, he pitched the game of his life.
With the exception of a Daniel Murphy home run in the fourth inning, New York couldn't touch Kershaw as the left-hander struck out eight batters and held the Mets to just three hits on the entire night. Kershaw's best pitches are his slider and looping curve, and he had that working for most of the night to the point the Mets were chasing everything and anything close.
As for Steven Matz, the rookie left-hander did the best he could against Kershaw, but it wasn't enough. He threw two terrific innings to start the game, but let things snowball in the third inning. Ironically the Dodgers rally started with Kershaw, who lined a single to left and was forced out at second on a fielder's choice. Two batters later, Adrian Gonzalez got a base hit to score Enrique Hernandez for the first run of the day, and ex-Met Justin Turner drove home a pair on a double.
Turner has had a big series against his old mates, batting .467 with three RBI.
Matz lasted five innings for the Mets, allowing three runs on six hits. More importantly he kept his team in the ball game, and gave New York a chance to pull it out late.
The Mets best chance to do something came in the eighth inning with Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen on the hill for the Dodgers, but New York couldn't get the big hit when they needed it. Give kudos to Curtis Granderson and David Wright for working out walks to set it up for Daniel Murphy. Murphy worked a great at bat himself, sending the count full at 3-2, but ended up flying out to shallow right, ending the Mets momentum.
The Mets will once again turn to Jacob deGrom to get New York over the hump in a deciding Game 5. It will be a tremendous pitching match-up as deGrom will face Zack Greinke, who pitched extremely well against the Mets in Game 2. Of course deGrom is coming off his 13-strikeout masterpiece in Game 1. While the loss in Game 4 is disappointing for the Mets they have the right guy on the hill for a winner-take-all contest.