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Series Preview: Miami Marlins vs. New York Mets

The penultimate home series of the season comes against a familiar yet fishy foe.

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Rich Schultz

What's going on with the Marlins?

Since we last saw our friends from Miami, Giancarlo Stanton was brutally injured when he was hit in the face by a fastball. With the way he smashed home runs, got on base, and ran down fly balls in the outfield this year, it's not at all crazy to say that Stanton had one of the best seasons in Marlins history. Heck, his 2014 would be one of the best offensive seasons in Mets history, and our team has been around a lot longer.

The good news is that Stanton will not need surgery to repair his injured face. The slugger is expected to miss the remainder of 2014, but he should be healthy in time for spring training. With Stanton in tow and Jose Fernandez coming back from Tommy John surgery, the Marlins will be expected to contend for a Wild Card spot in 2015.

Who are these guys?

In the short-term, the Stanton injury leaves a large hole Miami's lineup. In the three games since Stanton went down, first baseman Garrett Jones, utility infielder Ed Lucas, and utility outfielder (and Mets nemesis) Reed Johnson have all had starts in right field. Johnson looks like the best option of those three just because of defense, but the Fish are also toying with the idea of moving athletic prospect Enrique Hernandez to center field and shifting Marcell Ozuna to right. No matter what happens, the Miami lineup just isn't as scary with Casey McGehee batting third.

For those who base their MVP vote on the "most valuable to his team" philosophy (as flawed as that may be in my opinion), Stanton would appear to be a no-brainer.

Who's on the mound?

Monday: Jarred Cosart vs. Jacob deGrom

Cosart has been a very interesting rotation piece for the Marlins since they acquired him at the trade deadline in a deal centered around Jake Marisnick. While the gifted outfielder Marisnick would make the Marlins look better for the next two weeks, in the long term, rotation depth is more of a pressing need. Cosart's performance has made the trade look like a good one for the Marlins with a 1.93 ERA since he switched from the American League to the National League. The 24-year-old right-hander has his strikeouts up and his walks down. He looks like he has a bright future in front of him.

You don't need to tell most Mets fans about how bright deGrom's future looks right now. The Stetson alumnus's legend only continued to grow with a brilliant outing against Colorado last week, and the team's enthusiasts are already daydreaming about deGrom and a rejuvinated Matt Harvey leading New York to a playoff berth in 2015.

Tuesday: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Bartolo Colon

Eovaldi looked great in his one start against the Mets this year. He struck out a season high 10 batters while allowing three runs in seven innings. Since then, though, the 24-year-old has been mediocre. For a guy who throws as hard as Eovaldi does and doesn't walk many, you'd expect something better than a 4.29 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, but that's where he is right now. Eovaldi is still quite young and has been hurt by a low strand rate this season, but you'd still like to see him bump up his strikeout rate as he grows up.

Colon is someone who many Mets fans would like to see traded in the offseason, but the one year left on his contract might be the perfect thing to solidify New York's 2015 rotation. With Harvey still waiting to make his post-Tommy John surgery debut and Noah Syndergaard still without a major league start to his credit, the Mets can still use an old guy like Colon who can efficiently go deep into games. His ERA might not be too sexy this season, but his strikeout and walk numbers are better than they were in 2013 when Colon was worth nearly four wins above replacement.

Wednesday: Henderson Alvarez vs. Dillon Gee

The Mets hit Alvarez pretty hard during his last start against the Mets, so naturally an oblique injury was to blame. After missing a turn in the rotation, the right-hander returned to action to throw a gem against the Phillies last Friday, and now he's looking to continue get back to dominating the Mets. Alvarez allowed just two runs in his first three starts against New York in 2014, but his last two haven't gone nearly as well. Nevertheless, it's been a great campaign for Alvarez, who looks like he could eat innings for Miami for years to come.

There's not much to say about Gee that hasn't been said already. He threw another "just okay" start against the Nationals on Friday, and he's been moderately effective since the start of August. That's all nice, but Gee continues to look like a very low-upside pitcher right now. Considering how he has pitched over the last two seasons, it's hard to imagine him being anything other than a back-of-the-rotation starter in the future. That makes him expendable when you consider the abundance of more exciting arms in the Mets' system.

Prediction: Mets sweep the Marlins!

What about some highlights?

Jenrry Mejia celebrated the Mets' last win over the Marlins in his typical emphatic fashion. Cut it out, Jenrry! There are children watching! Why can't he just act more mature like Mariano Rivera?

It's not that this fan didn't make a nice catch, but he could have just let the ball go and walked back to pick it up a few innings later.

Apparently Mets fans would rather disguise themselves than show their true colors in public these days.

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