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Series Preview: New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins

After falling to the Yankees, can the Mets get back to beating up division rivals?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Even in the midst of their 11-game winning streak, we knew the Mets would have to lose sometime. That happened on Friday in Yankee Stadium and then again on Sunday. The real question has always been if the Mets would continue to slide back to the middle of the division where they are supposed to finish or if they can bounce back and start winning again.

We'll get a good feeling for New York's mettle during this week's three games in Miami. Can the Mets once again take down the rival Marlins, even now that the Fish are the hot team?

Hechavarria is hot

We know that Hansel is so hot right now, but you know who's also hot? Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Since coming over from Toronto during a blockbuster trade following the 2012 season, the Cuba native has only been as good as his defensive game. Either you saw the diving efforts and were really impressed with Hechavarria's defense or you saw the stats and panned it. The point is, the guy's offense always kind of stunk.

This year, though, he's smacking the cover off the ball. Like Fish Stripes says, what Hechavarria and his teammate Dee Gordon are doing could just be smoke, mirrors, and BABIP. However, it's important to note that Hechavarria already has two home runs this year after hitting just one in all of 2014. Even if he never becomes a patient hitter, a spark of power at age 26 could turn the shortstop into quite a valuable asset.

That Ichiro can still play

When the Marlins signed Ichiro Suzuki in the offseason, it was seen as a solid depth play, but early on it's really paying off due to the ageless wonder starting in the wake of a Christian Yelich back injury. Ichiro now has hits in his last six games and has cut his strikeout rate of 18 percent from last year down to 10 percent in (small sample size) 51 plate appearances.

Now that he's a temporary starter at age 41, Ichiro is setting all sorts of records and making us swoon all over again.

Another old guy whose spirits were raised last week? Mike Redmond, the Miami manager who went on one little losing streak and saw himself rumored to be replaced by Wally Backman. Don't worry, Mike. If you win three against the Mets this week, it'll be Terry Collins being replaced by Backman. Funny how things can change quickly like that.

Montero will make his first start of the season

In case you haven't heard, Rafael Montero is being called up to make a spot start on Tuesday in order to give all the other rotation members (mostly Matt Harvey) an extra day of rest. Although the 24-year-old right-hander looked so good in spring training that he was almost awarded a full-time rotation spot, lately things have not gone as well.

Date Time Television Mets Probable Starter Marlins Probable Starter
April 27, 2015 7:10 PM SNY Dillon Gee Jarred Cosart
April 28, 2015 7:10 PM SNY Rafael Montero David Phelps
April 29, 2015 7:10 PM SNY Bartolo Colon Mat Latos

In four big league relief appearances this year, Montero allowed three runs while walking one batter in each outing. After being sent down to Las Vegas to stretch out, he allowed six runs in seven-and-two-thirds innings (spanning two starts). On the other hand, at least Montero got his command together in Triple-A with seven strikeouts and only one walk.

With the Mets wanting to show that the weekend series loss was a fluke and not the start of a trend, these next two outings for back-end starters Dillon Gee and Montero are very important.

Prediction: Streaking Marlins take two of three.

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