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Series Preview: Miami Marlins vs. New York Mets

The Fish have started to play well just in time for their first visit to Queens.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of talk this winter of the Marlins finishing above the Mets and perhaps contending for a Wild Card spot in 2015 despite being without the services of ace starter Jose Fernandez for more than half the season due to Tommy John surgery. That made a lot of Mets fans angry, because hey, we're supposed to be the upstart team in this division, and our injured ace is back in April, baby.

Nothing like some random expert picks to fuel the fire of an underrated baseball rivalry. Despite being separated by over a thousand miles on I-95, it's been proven over the years that Miami and New York just don't like each other. If both teams stay afloat despite early injuries, these clashes could become even more intense.

Are those gray uniforms?

However, that will only happen if the Marlins manage to dust themselves off after a 1-5 start that featured home series losses to the rival Braves and Rays. It looks like this team bought in too much to the early hype and... wait. Are those gray uniforms?

Gray has been something the Marlins just don't do, and that goes back to the team's teal-and-black "Florida" days. However, maybe Giancarlo Stanton looking fly in the away duds during last year's All-Star game did something to turn the tide (even though he was practically forced to wear the uniform, as wearing a black top to the midsummer classic would have been a major faux pas).

Anyway, the Fish wore gray shirts for the entirety of their first road series and came away with two out of three wins in Atlanta. The team is hitting better (even Adeiny Hechavarria!) and pitching better (even Mat Latos!) and probably feels that it has a great chance to make up lost ground against the Mets in the four-game set that starts today.

Giancarlo Stanton is most impressive

Making the Marlins all the more confident could be the fact that their star player is primed to explode. The trendy MVP pick (but only because MLB added that extra playoff spot) is still without his first home run of the season, but Stanton did just reach base five times with four RBI in Tuesday's 8-2 rout over the Braves.

It's a fallacy to say that a player is "due," but I still can't shake the feeling that the biggest, baddest dude in the majors who hit at least 34 home runs in three of his past four years (and still won't turn 26 until the offseason) is going to remain without a home run for much longer.

Or maybe he'll finish the season with more stolen bases than round trippers. You can't predict baseball!

Yes, that is David Phelps on the mound

Even before Henderson Alvarez hit the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, pitching depth was an issue for the Marlins. Mat Latos was brought in from Cincinnati to bolster the staff, but it was still relying on unproven youngsters like Jarred Cosart as well as the veteran Dan Haren, whose devotion to Miami was questioned in the offseason.

Date Time Television Marlins Probable Starter Mets Probable Starter
April 16, 2015 7:10 PM SNY Jarred Cosart Dillon Gee
April 17, 2015 7:10 PM SNY David Phelps Bartolo Colon
April 18, 2015 7:10 PM PIX 11 Mat Latos Jacob deGrom
April 19, 2015 1:10 PM SNY Tom Koehler Matt Harvey

With Alvarez temporarily on the shelf, Phelps steps in from the bullpen to start against destroyer of worlds Bartolo Colon on Friday. The Mets figure to have the advantage in the next two games as well despite Matt Harvey's mildly disappointing outing versus the Phillies.

As a spot starter for the Yankees during the past three seasons, Phelps has shown some decent strikeout stuff, but he struggles with command as well as home runs. Citi Field should treat him reasonably well, although we've already seen the extra power that the new outfield dimensions can give line-drive lefties like Chase Utley and Daniel Murphy.

Taking Phelps's spot in the bullpen will be 24-year-old right-hander Carter Capps, whose barely legal delivery should provoke some interesting comments from SNY broadcasters.

Y'all made fun of my girl Carly Rae, but at least she stayed on the mound.

Prediction: Mets win three out of four.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $125,000 one-day fantasy baseball league today. It's $2 to join and first place wins $10,000. Enter now!