Mets open tough stretch of schedule vs. Dodgers

National Sports

A three-game series against the rebuilding Washington Nationals gave the New York Mets a much-needed chance to rebuild some momentum in the National League East race.

Now comes the interesting part: 13 games against a pair of NL West titans.

New York, a half-game behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East, will open a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. The Dodgers are in second in the NL West, five games behind the San Francisco Giants.

The Mets’ next 13 games will all be against the Dodgers and the Giants.

Right-hander Tylor Megill (1-2, 3.20 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mets on Friday against Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias (13-3, 3.41).

The Mets completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Nationals by taking both ends of a doubleheader Thursday. Brandon Nimmo had four RBIs in a 4-1 win in the opener, and Pete Alonso hit a walk-off homer in the seventh inning of New York’s 5-4 victory in the second game.

The Dodgers’ four-game winning streak ended Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 loss to the host Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mets were in a 1-7 skid that cost them first place in the NL East — a spot they held on their own for 89 days between May 9 and Aug. 5 — before the Nationals came to town. The sweep of Washington lifted New York into second place, a half-game ahead of the third-place Atlanta Braves.

The Mets were in danger of falling to .500 before overcoming a pair of three-run deficits to earn an 8-7 win in a game that was suspended in the second inning Tuesday and completed Wednesday. In Thursday’s second game, Trevor May and Jeurys Familia combined to squander a three-run lead in the top of the seventh before Alonso homered with one out in the bottom of the inning.

“So happy for Pete to come through in that last game,” Nimmo said. “That’s huge. This series was huge. From here on out, every game is going to be big.”

Now the direction of New York’s season may be determined by how the Mets fare against the defending World Series champion Dodgers and the Giants, who have the best record in baseball. The Mets visit the two teams next week before hosting the Giants in a three-game series that will start Aug. 24.

While the Dodgers are slated to roll out three ace-caliber pitchers against the Mets — Urias is scheduled to be followed by Cy Young Award candidate Walker Buehler and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer — they will arrive in New York with a short-handed lineup.

Mookie Betts was placed on the injured list Wednesday due to right hip inflammation while Justin Turner is expected to miss a fourth straight game Friday because of a left groin ailment.

The Dodgers are 7-4 since acquiring Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nationals on July 30.

“I think we’re in a good place right now,” Los Angeles pitcher Mitch White said. “Obviously, there have been a lot of injuries and guys have been going up and down, up and down. But it feels like guys are kind of starting to bear down and get ready for the push.”

Megill took a loss on Saturday, when he gave up four runs over 4 2/3 innings as the Mets fell to the Phillies 5-3.

The same day, Urias didn’t factor into the decision after surrendering three runs (two earned) over five innings during the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Megill has never faced the Dodgers. Urias is 0-0 with a 15.75 ERA in three games (one start) against the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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