Tempers could be running pretty high when the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers meet up in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series. After the latest in a number of controversial incidents in post-season play helped to turn Game 2 around, Major League Baseball essentially admitted that it never should have been ruled on the way it was, and that has further fueled the Mets' temperament, which sets the stage for this pivotal game in the best-of-five series that begins at 8:35 PM ET at Citi Field in Flushing.
Of course, Vietbet customers who have been following this series are aware that Chase Utley, the former All-Star who was picked up by the Dodgers during the season but had made very little noise, made up for all of that in the seventh inning when he more or less body-blocked Ruben Tejada at second base on a double play attempt, breaking Tejada's leg and, by virtue of an umpire's reversal that kept him on second base despite originally being called out, opened the floodgates for four runs that enabled Los Angeles to draw even.
Upon review, and after admitting that they blew the call and should have maintained the initial ruling that Utley should have been "out," they suspended him for two games, and the Mets have made some noises about retaliation, inasmuch as Utley could be able play in this game, pending an appeal. It didn't calm things much that Brett Anderson, the Dodger starter in Game 3, was vocal, through his Twitter account, about his opposition to the Utley suspension.
In the baseball betting lines posted on this game by the folks at Vietbet, the Mets are heavily favored behind starter Matt Harvey:
New York Mets (Harvey) -169
Los Angeles Dodgers (Anderson) +159
Over 6.5 Runs -125
Under 6.5 Runs +105
It has already been announced by Utley's agent that he will appeal, and manager Don Mattingly was considering putting him in the lineup, because he is 6-for-18 lifetime (.333) with a homer against Harvey. The umpires are naturally on high alert, as Harvey is a strong possibility to send some warning signals. He has already drilled Utley once this season, in Philadelphia, after the Phillies had nailed two Mets' hitters. So he won't be shy; at least as shy as he appeared to be about pitching in the post-season. More on that in a minute. The hearing on this appeal is reportedly going to be held sometime before Monday's game.
Utley stayed on second because it was determined that Tejada's foot was not on the bag (by the way, Utley had not touched second either). Of course, "neighborhood" plays have been part of baseball culture for decades, specifically because of the necessity for shortstops and/or second basemen to safely get out of the way of base runners who come in hard to break up the double play.
Vietbet patrons should probably know that the Mets, despite a very solid 49-32 record at Citi Field, have not been as good an offensive team at home. In fact, they hit only .233 there, as opposed to .255 on the road. And consequently they were less successful scoring runs at home (313, vs. 370 as a visitor). Of course, the flip side is that most of their pitching metrics were better at home, including their ERA (3.23).
So how far will Harvey go in this game? We know it might be long enough to plunk Utley again, but how much longer than that? As baseball bettors know, he sent some very strange signals to the Mets and their fans, as his agent, Scott Boras, came with the rather public declaration that he was only supposed to go 180 innings this year as he was coming back from Tommy John surgery, with the intimation that he should have been "shut down" a la Stephen Strasburg in 2012. But he is showing up for playoff action, albeit after making headlines by showing up late for a workout.
Apparently, Soap Opera Digest has been granted extra media credentials for this one.
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