LOS ANGELES -- Mark McGwire is arguably the most famous -- or infamous -- name on the Dodgers, other than Clayton Kershaw. But Kershaw is a pitcher and McGwire, who once hit 70 home runs in a season, is the batting coach for a team whose hitters must go against the Mets' excellent staff in their National League Division Series.
McGwire understands the challenge.
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"They have really good pitching," he said, emphasizing the obvious. "Other than just throwing hard, they know how to pitch, have good secondary pitches.
"A lot of youngsters have one really good pitch, but the Mets guys have several. That's a credit to their minor-league staff. We know we have our work cut out for us."
McGwire didn't single out any of the Mets' big three of Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, perhaps not wanting to alienate anyone. And then there's Steven Matz, who in his second major-league start on July 5 shut out the Dodgers on two hits for six innings.
McGwire, however, did remind reporters that Los Angeles won three of the seven games between the teams this season despite scoring only 19 runs total, seven in one game.
Bruce Bochy, manager of the San Francisco Giants, who used superb pitching to win the World Series three times in the previous five years, had deGrom on the National League All-Star team.
"I was pretty impressed by him," Bochy said. "They have three guys who can crank it up in the high 90s, so we're going to see some good fastballs in this playoff. Look at the arms on both staffs, Kershaw, [Zack] Greinke for the Dodgers. All those standouts on the Mets. You usually see great pitching this time of year, but it's the depth of these staffs . . .
"Usually pitching is what carries you in the postseason, but you've got to score runs too. The Dodgers have a good offense, but there's a lot of talk about the Mets, how they can score."
Don Mattingly, the one-time Yankee who manages the Dodgers, is another observer who's less inclined to break down the series as simply Dodgers hitting against Mets pitching.
"We know the Met pitching is very, very good," Mattingly said, "a lot of good power arms. But we don't look at anything as just one against the other. There's more.
"As a team, we have to be better than them. We have to find a way to put up more runs than they do and stop them offensively and then deal with that staff, try to put some runs on the board."
The Dodgers ranked seventh in the major leagues in OPS this season at .739 and the Mets were 20th at .712. Los Angeles was sixth in the majors in homers (187), led by Adrian Gonzalez's 28 and Joc Pederson's 26, and the Mets were eighth (177). The Dodgers finished 10th in the National League with a .250 team batting average.
Like McGwire, his hitting coach, Mattingly was determined not to focus on any particular Mets pitcher.
"They're all good," he said, using his best managerial diplomacy. "DeGrom is really good. Syndergaard threw the ball good against us. Harvey has thrown it good in the past. I could keep going. I'm sure the Mets are excited about being in the postseason. It should be fun."