The Mets begin another critical series tonight against the Dodgers at 7:10.The Mets and Dodgers are both currently in the hunt for the second Wild Card spot, with the Dodgers currently ahead of the Mets by 1.5 games. The Mets need to take this series to not only keep up with the Braves, but also distance themselves with some of the other Wild Card contenders. There are currently five other teams withing seven games of the last playoff spot.The Dodgers that we will see this weekend is a much different team than we saw before the All-Star break, when the Mets took three of four games in Los Angeles. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, Kemp was having a ridiculous April and May before going down with a hamstring problem, which has since flared up again. Ethier was also having a nice season, driving in 59 runs through 81 games. With both of these guys back, the Dodger lineup immediately goes from well below average, to pretty decent.What's kept the Dodgers in contention despite the absence of their two best hitters has been their pitching. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Capuano have continued their fantastic seasons. Capuano, who the Mets decided not to sign this past offseason, has a 2.75 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 118 innings pitched. The team's 3.34 starter's ERA is second in baseball.The Dodger bullpen has also played a big role in keeping this team alive. The Dodger bullpen has a 3.13 ERA. Kenley Jansen has continued his dominance this season. He has a 2.04 ERA to go along with 16 saves this season. He also has 13.4 strikeouts per nine this year.Hopefully the Mets can get on a bit of a roll here and make everyone forget the si-game losing streak.Pitching Matchups:Game 1- Tonight 7:10Johan Santana (6-6, 3.59 ERA) vs. Aaron Harang (6-5, 3.53 ERA)Game 2- Saturday 1:10Miguel Batista (1-2, 4.33 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (9-5, 2.75 ERA)Game 3- Sunday 1:10Jonathon Niese (7-4, 3.58 ERA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (1-6, 4.33 ERA)Notes:
  • In 43 appearances this season, Kenley Jansen has allowed more than one hit only four times.
  • Nathan Eovaldi has struggled of late. The 22 yea-old has a 7.17 ERA over his last four starts, including a start against the Dodgers on June 25 in which he gave up eight runs on ten hits. Eovaldi was ranked before the season as the 96th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America.
  • David Wright has hit five homers this month and driven in 15 runs in just 13 games. He is hitting .340 with a .407 on-base percentage this month.
  • Ruben Tejada has also had a great month, hitting .345. He has seven multi-hit games this month.