Rafael Montero took the loss against the Yankees in his big league debut last Wednesday, but he’s looking to earn his first major league victory against the Dodgers Monday at Citi Field.
Although the Dodgers (23-22) have gotten off to a slow start after winning 92 games and the NL West in 2013, it’s worth noting that they were 17-25 at this point last season, and they should not be taken lightly.
Montero will have to face some of the most dangerous bats in the league, including the red-hot Yasiel Puig, who is hitting .385 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in May.
The challenges do not stop at him, however. Montero, who gave up two home runs to left-handed hitters in his debut, will have to contend with some tough lefties Monday.
Carl Crawford, the high-priced outfielder who hasn’t done much since signing a seven-year, $142 million contract with the Red Sox before the 2011 season, has been on a tear recently, hitting .388 with an uncharacteristic three homers for the month. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has previously slugged 40 homers in a season, and speedster Dee Gordon, who leads the league with 25 stolen bases, are also on the agenda for Montero.
With Zack Wheeler (1-4, 4.53 ERA) and Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34 ERA) vastly underperforming thus far and Gee, the team’s most consistent starter, on the disabled list, there is heavy pressure on Montero to step up and prove his worth.