New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (6/29-6/31)

The New York Mets hit the road after another dreadful homestand to take on fellow National League bottom feeder, Miami Marlins. These are two worst teams in the NL and come into this weekend’s series with 32 wins each. Both teams come from different directions, the Mets were build to make a postseason run and the Marlins are in total rebuild mode. The Mets have the upper hand in this season’s series, taking four of the six games.

Probable Pitching Matcups:

(6/29, 7:10 PM) Corey Oswalt (0-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Sandy Alcantra (First Start of the Season)

(6/30, 4:10 PM) Jacob deGrom (5-3, 1.69 ERA) vs. TBD

(6/31, 1:10 PM) Steven Matz (3-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (3-3, 4.82 ERA)

deGrom is Pushed Back

Jacob deGrom was originally slated to take the mound Friday night, but a family issue arose which pushed his start back to Saturday. Corey Oswalt will make the start in his place, Gerson Bautista was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Oswalt. In his only start this season, he gave the Mets 4.2 innings and allowed two runs while striking out four batters. With Seth Lugo back in the Mets bullpen, Oswalt has an opportunity to stay in the rotation if he shows that he is major league ready.

Wilmer Flores has been one of the Mets hottest hitters since he returned from the disabled list. He is hitting .286 with three home runs and a .571 slugging percentage in his return to the lineup. As Dom Smith has failed to find any consistency at the plate, it created an opportunity for Flores to take his job. Peter Alonso is also scratching at the door to enter the big leagues with could take Smith out of Mets first base picture.

Trust the Process in Miami?

It was obvious that the Marlins were going to tank with Derek Jeter at the helm. The have not been .500 at any point this season and have held last place in the NL East firmly. J.T. Realmuto has been their lone bright spot and will likely be their lone all-star this season. Realmuto has batted .308 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs after missing time early in the season due to an injury.

Derek Dietrich has been one of only the surprises for the Marlins this season. He is top-20 in the NL with 82 hits and has been hit with 10 pitches this season. Brian Anderson has shown he can be part of the Marlin’s future plans. He has a .293 average and is fourth in the NL with 92 hits. Anderson has the ability to play third base and the corner outfield positions and is a dark horse to be an all-star as well.

Matchups to Lookout For

Derek Dietrich vs. Jacob deGrom: 4-21 (.191) Walk, 11 Strikeouts

Justin Bour vs. Jacob deGrom: 8-19 (.421) Double, 2 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Dan Straily: 3-11 (.273) 2 Doubles, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Jose Reyes vs. Dan Straily: 2-11 (.182) 4 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Wilmer Flores in Late & Close Situations in 2018: 11-27 (.407) Double, 3 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Starlin Castro Leading Off an Inning in 2018: 25-74 (.338) 4 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 4 Walks, 12 Strikeouts

What I Liked About Last Night: Jason Vargas

The New York Mets crafty veteran, Jason Vargas, gave a much needed scoreless start against the Miami Marlins. Vargas was in complete control of all three of his pitches and looked like he was starting to get back into a groove.

The start came against one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, but in his last three starts he could not keep anyone from scoring. Vargas desperately needed a good start and made the adjustments that a veteran in his position would make. With a career 4.26 ERA, the Mets had to feel it was only a matter of time before he broke out. He did a terrific job of keeping the Marlins off balance at the plate. Vargas showed the confidence in his changeup and curveball which had been lacking.

Keep the Momentum Going

The start was important because the Mets needed to keep the momentum going after they swept the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Atlanta Braves lost to the Philadelphia Phillies which also means the Mets are 2.5 games out of first place. The Mets really needed a strong start to the series which could potentially lead to a six game winning streak. After they finish with the Marlins, they start an eight game road trip against the Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. Both are series where they need their starting pitching to be top notch.

Of course we can not put too much stock into one start against a lackluster team, but this is a huge step for Vargas. The Mets need consistency from the back end of their rotation. Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas do not need to be all-stars, they just need to be quality starters. All three are very much capable of doing that and more. This allows the Mets to keep Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman in the bullpen which has added some much needed depth to their cast of relievers. The Mets are also still struggling to score runs, which is being covered by how well they have pitched over the last four games.

Once the Mets offense wakes up, they will regain the fear they earned during their 11-1 start. Zack Wheeler will try to build on this four game winning streak and will hopefully pitch in better conditions than in his last start. If he gets back on track, they will have a chance for a sweep with Jacob deGrom pitching the final game of the series.

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (5/21-5/23)

After a huge three game sweep against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Mets look to keep the momentum going against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are dead last in the NL East with a 17-29 record, but are still considered to be overachieving. The Marlins just lost two out of three games to the first place Atlanta Braves. They finished off the series by blowing a five run lead in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets swept the Marlins in their only series this season.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(5/21, 7:10 PM) Eliser Hernandez (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (0-3, 13.86 ERA)

(5/22, 7:10 PM) Caleb Smith (2-5, 4.22 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-3, 5.92 ERA)

(5/23, 7:10 PM) Dan Straily (2-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.75 ERA)

Big Sweep For the Mets

The sweep against the D’backs showed flashes of what made the Mets so great in 2015 and 2016. They had terrific pitching and clutch hitting to go along with a strong bullpen. Michael Conforto looked like a new player up at the plate and showed why he was an all-star last year. The Mets also kept themselves in the NL East race for first place at 3.5 games out. The sweep was a huge “pick me up” for the team and they look like they have their energy back to what it was in April.

Everyone knows how good Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are, but after they pitch the Mets rotation is full of question marks. Wheeler and Steven Matz have been inconsistent and Vargas does not look like a big league pitcher at the moment. For the Mets to be a World Series contender they need consistency from the back end of their rotation. For Vargas and Wheeler these games are important for them to get on track, especially after an important sweep.

Floppin’ Fish

It does not surprise many people that the Marlins are last in baseball in home runs and RBIs. After trading away most of their valuable assets, there are many unproven players throughout this Marlins roster. J.T. Realmuto has been their lone brightspot on the team since he has returned from his injury. He leads the team with a .313 average and has been a staple at the top of their order.

The Marlins are one of the youngest teams in baseball which means there is still a lot of room to grow for many of their players. Brian Anderson and Jarlin Garcia have shown a lot of potential and that they deserve to be a part of this team’s future. Top prospects Lewis Brinson and Dillon Peters have struggled big time in their first full season’s in the big leagues. Brinson is hitting .160 and Peters has an ERA of 6.31. Since the Marlins are in a huge rebuild mode, there is still plenty of time for them to get better.

Matchups to Look Out For

Starlin Castro vs. Jason Vargas: 3-8 (.375) 3 Doubles, 2 Walks, Strikeout

Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Dan Straily: 3-8 (.375) 2 Doubles, Walk, Strikeout

J.T. Realmuto vs. Jacob deGrom: 2-12 (.167) 4 Strikeouts

Jose Reyes vs. Dan Straily 2-11 (.182) 4 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

J.T. Realmuto career batting 1st in the order: .341 AVG, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 13 Doubles

Michael Conforto career in the first inning: .350 AVG, 15 HR, 32 RBI, 11 Doubles

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For Game 1 of this series we chose:

-Miami Marlins OVER 3.5 Runs

-New York Mets will NOT win by OVER 1.5 runs

-Asdrubal Cabrera OVER 0.5 EXTRA BASE HITS

 

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (4/9-4/11)

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

The New York Mets make their first trip to South Beach to take on the Miami Marlins. The Mets look to make it four straight series wins to start their 2018 season. Owner Derek Jeter traded away their stars in the offseason. Many of their players trying to earn a big league job. The Marlins already find themselves in last place in the National League East and it does not look like than will change any time soon.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(4/9, 7:10 PM) Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Jose Urena (0-1, 4.91 ERA)

(4/10, 7:10 PM) Jacob deGrom (2-0, 1.54 ERA) vs. Caleb Smith (0-1, 4.32 ERA)

(4/11, 7:10 PM) Zack Wheeler (Season Debut) vs. Jarlin Garcia (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

The Mets have surprised many by their strong start that has earned them first place in the NL East. Their ability to comeback, strong pitching and clutch hitting was something missing in the 2017 Mets. Manager Mickey Callaway has seemed to push all the right buttons in his first few games as Mets manager.

The Marlins bring in a roster full of under the radar players with Starlin Castro being the star of the team. Third baseman Brian Anderson has had a strong start to the season, hitting .281 with a .410 on base percentage. Pitching will be their biggest issue this season but Jarlin Garcia and his 1.80 ERA is giving hope to what looks to be a mediocre rotation.

New Owner, New Players

Last year the Marlins won 12 of the 19 meetings against the Mets but it will not surprise anyone if the Mets win a majority of this year’s matchups. Manager Don Mattingly certainly has his work cut out for him this year but his job looks to be secure with Derek Jeter as the owner. Young prospects Lewis Brinson, Dillon Peters and Braxton Lee have struggled to start the season but the organization is banking on them for their future success.

The Mets are searching for a starter to pitch the final game of the series. It was sahping up to be Seth Lugo as Jason Vargas is still recovering from his hand injury. But, the Mets will opt to bring up Zack Wheeler and keep Lugo in the bullpen.

Matchups to Watch For

Wilmer Flores hit .291 with 7 home runs against left handed pitching last season. Expect him to get a lot of playing time in this series with the Marlins pitching two lefties. Michael Conforto is a career .179 hitter against left handed pitching. Those statistics combined with not pushing him too much in his return from the shoulder injury will likely keep him out of the lineup.

In his career, Starlin Castro hits .301 when facing a pitcher for the third time. If Syndergaard and deGrom has to face Castro late in the ballgame, they might be pulled with Callaway’s bullpen philosophy. The Mets have done a great job of working the count this year and in his career batters hit .388 against Urena in 1-0 counts. He is known to lose the strike zone in the past and this can be a recipe for disaster against the Mets.

Interesting Stats

Yoenis Cespedes only hit .185 in Marlins Park in 2017 after hitting .296 the year before. On the other hand, Cameron Maybin has hit .338 in his career at Marlins Park. It is an encouraging sign for a player who is looking to rebound this season.