<
>

Morning Briefing: Mets can finish off Dodgers in Game 4

NEW YORK --

FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets are within one game of advancing to the National League Championship Series.

Steven Matz starts a major league game for the first time in 19 days as the Amazin's look to eliminate the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Matz will oppose Clayton Kershaw, who will be pitching on short rest. Kershaw allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings in Friday's opener and is winless in his last five postseason starts. Kershaw also came back on short rest in Game 4 of the NLDS a year ago in St. Louis. He allowed three runs in six innings in a 3-2 loss as Los Angeles was eliminated.

How Matz will fare is hard to predict because of his recent inactivity while dealing with back spasms. Manager Terry Collins hopes Bartolo Colon is available to back up Matz for a couple of innings. Matz tossed an 88-pitch simulated game on Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Florida, to tune up for Tuesday's start.

“l felt really good and strong finishing up in the intrasquad game down in Florida,” Matz said. “So I'm happy with how that went.”

TUESDAY'S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Curtis Granderson drove in five runs, matching the franchise postseason record, and Travis d'Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in three runs apiece as the Mets beat the Dodgers, 13-7, on Monday. The Dodgers had taken a 3-0 lead against Matt Harvey, but the Dark Knight battled through five innings to earn the win. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Chase Utley was jeered throughout Monday's game, but never saw action. Utley was eligible to play because the appeal of his two-game suspension has not yet been heard. In fact, it may not be heard until after the division series. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that Utley declined a one-game plea deal. The Mets did not seek retaliation against any other players during Monday's game, instead preferring to have winning be the retribution. Ruben Tejada, using a Mets-colored cane, was cheered during pregame introductions. After Game 2, Utley sent a message to Tejada through a text message to captain David Wright. Wright would not answer if he thought Utley's message was sincere. Read more in the Post, Times and Record.

  • Tejada will not need surgery to repair his fractured fibula.

  • Matt Reynolds officially was added to the NLDS roster on Monday in place of Tejada. Free-agent-to-be Tim Stauffer was designated for assignment to clear the 40-man roster spot. Read more in Newsday.

  • A Mets fan is in critical condition after getting punched and falling outside Dodger Stadium on Friday, KABC reports.

  • Fred Kerber in the Post reviews the “creative” signs at Citi Field greeting Utley. There's also a photo gallery in the Daily News.

  • Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes how valuable Granderson has been to the Mets.

  • Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record suggests that starting Matz in Game 4 is a better call than using Jacob deGrom on short rest.

  • Dodgers PR shielded Utley from the media postgame, Mark Feinsand writes in the Daily News.

  • Columnist Tara Sullivan in the Record recaps the electric evening.

  • With Kershaw and then Greinke potentially looming if the series gets to a fifth game, the Mets have not advanced just yet, columnist John Harper writes in the Daily News.

  • Cespedes used his legs to beat out an infield single leading off the second and sparked that big inning, columnist Mike Vaccaro writes in the Post.

  • The Mets let their bats do the talking, columnist David Lennon writes in Newsday.

  • The Mets are tied for the most homegrown players among all the postseason teams, Jared Diamond writes in the Journal.

  • Read more on Matz in the Post and Newsday.

  • Read more on Tejada in the Post and Newsday.

  • Read more on Harvey in the Daily News and Newsday.

  • Kershaw said he thought MLB was bullied into suspending Utley. Read more on Kershaw in the Post and Daily News.

  • Read more on d'Arnaud in the Daily News and Times.

  • Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda told the Post that Utley seemed to go out of his way in decking Tejada on Saturday. Read more from Lasorda in the Daily News.

  • Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) applauded Utley's suspension while attending Monday's game, Anthony Rieber writes in Newsday.

  • From the bloggers … Although not sharp, Mets Report suggests Harvey gave the Amazin's what they most needed.

BIRTHDAYS: Taylor Buchholz turns 34. ... Julio Valera is 47.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU'RE UP: Would you rather the Mets face the Chicago Cubs or St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS?