Dodgers capitalize on costly Mets mistakes to extend winning streak to six games

Dodgers star Mookie Betts celebrates after hitting a home run in the third inning.
Dodgers star Mookie Betts celebrates after hitting a home run in the third inning of a 5-1 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field on Saturday night.
(Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Here are some things you can buy with $380 million.

Your own Hawaiian island.

A custom-built, luxury Airbus A350.

Or one of the most disappointing teams in Major League Baseball history.

Guess which one New York Mets owner Steve Cohen got.

The Dodgers might be having an imperfect season, one beset by injuries and uncharacteristic pitching problems, leaving them with a multitude of needs approaching the Aug. 1 trade deadline.


Dodgers players hold no grudge against new teammate Jake Marisnick, who was part of the scandal-plagued 2017 Houston Astros team accused of cheating.

July 15, 2023

But they’re in a whole lot better state than the Mets, who boast an MLB-record payroll but self-destructed down the stretch Saturday in a 5-1 defeat to the Dodgers.

The Mets’ high-priced roster — which will clock in at more than $380 million for luxury tax purposes, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts — was supposed to challenge clubs like the Dodgers for National League supremacy.

Instead, they find themselves eight games under .500 (42-50) and nine back in the playoff race — a stark reminder that for all the hurdles the Dodgers have faced, they’re still vastly superior to the horror show taking place in Queens.

On Saturday, the Mets chased Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin from the game after just five innings and 54 pitches but managed only one run against him, watching a barrage of hard contact find infielders or die at the warning track.

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers against the New York Mets in the first inning Saturday.
(Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

With the score tied 1-1 in the eighth, the Mets let the Dodgers take the lead on a botched double play that could have ended the inning, Pete Alonso’s high throw to second base giving David Peralta just enough time to reach first safely.


Then in the ninth, the Mets committed a cacophony of mistakes in a three-run inning that put the game away — a rally fueled by third baseman Brett Baty losing track of an infield pop-up that not only eluded his last-second dive, but also ricocheted off his face.

“They’re going through it, clearly,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the Mets’ struggles, contrasting them withhis own team’s ability to remain in first place despite some first-half adversity.

“Just because we wear this uniform, the Dodger uniform, doesn’t mean that it’s an automatic win,” Roberts said. “There’s a lot that goes into winning ballgames. From the hitting, the at-bat quality, the defense, guys buying in, we have that. I knew it was gonna come at some point where we were gonna get some traction and fortunately we’re playing good baseball.”

Julio Urías gave up just one hit over six innings and the Dodgers bullpen didn’t give up a single hit in a 6-0 victory over the New York Mets.

July 14, 2023

Saturday was their sixth straight win and 14th in their last 19 games. They hold a two-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West, only the second time they’ve led the division by more than a game since May 20.

Most of all, they are in a comfortable position for an 11th consecutive postseason appearance, avoiding the kind of disastrous campaign to which the Mets have subjected their frustrated fan base — which booed on several occasions Saturday.

“It’s hard to win in general,” said Mookie Betts, who led the way, going four for four with his 27th home run. “I think the front office has done an amazing job putting a really good product on the field. I would give a lot of the credit to our coaches and analytics department, they do an amazing job at preparing us. But a lot of credit to the guys. We’re playing for each other, we take the info and we have a really good camaraderie.”


The Dodgers (53-38) have myriad questions, nonetheless, most of which revolve around their pitching.

Their banged-up rotation got a solid but unconvincing start from Gonsolin, as the right-hander gave up just one run and two hits in five innings but was pulled early after the Mets hit 10 of their 12 balls in play against him at 94 mph or higher — including a solo home run from Brandon Nimmo in the fourth.

“You could see Tony kind of battling with the humidity, the feel of the baseball,” Roberts said, calling his decision a “no-brainer” despite Gonsolin’s low pitch count and pleas to return for the sixth inning.

“I can see where he’s coming from, for sure, but I wanted to stay out there,” Gonsolin said. “I felt like I had one, two more innings at least. It was pretty efficient.”

An inconsistent Dodgers bullpen almost yielded a 2-1 lead in the eighth. After issuing a lead-off walk, reliever Caleb Ferguson gave up a single to Francisco Alvarez that might have tied the game if not for a strong effort by left fielder Chris Taylor — playing his first game since returning from a knee injury — to cut the ball off in the gap.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won’t play against until at least early August because of a lingering shoulder injury that has kept him out since June.

July 14, 2023

“Huge save for him to get to that ball, save a run right there and give me another chance,” Ferguson said.

The left-hander didn’t waste it either, retiring the next three hitters on a pop-up and two strikeouts to strand runners on the corners.


Then, after Baty’s error in the ninth plated one run, J.D. Martinez and David Peralta added RBI singles, padding the Dodgers’ lead while adding to the misery of the Mets’ season.

“Sometimes you start getting breaks when good things happen,” Roberts said. “You saw that [Max] Muncy pop-up, but it was good to see David [and J.D.] take advantage and have a good at-bat and drive in that insurance run. Things like that, we’re creating our own breaks too.”