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Mets vs. Marlins: Can New York keep rolling against another bad team?

The Marlins got a head start on trading assets this week.

Oakland Athletics v Miami Marlins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Not many folks are giving the Mets a chance to continue their winning streak since they had to fly all the way across the country to get to Miami after finishing off the Giants in San Francisco on Sunday. There are some factors working in New York’s favor, though. Not only did the team get a much deserved day off on Monday, but it gets to play another squad that isn’t as good as the Dodgers. We witnessed over the weekend how playing teams that aren’t nuclear hot the way Los Angeles is can help the Mets win games, and the Marlins are another opponent that isn’t tearing up the league like a juggernaut.

In fact, Miami is already starting to trade away useful players. On Monday, it dealt Adeiny Hechavarria to Tampa Bay for a pair of prospects in order to start planning for the future. Although Hechavarria has never hit very much, he’s been one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball over the past two years. That makes him a better player than current Miami shortstop JT Riddle, who has a .251 on-base percentage despite his walk-off heroics against the Mets earlier in the season. Hechavarria was working his way back from an oblique injury, and he might have played in this series if he hadn’t been traded.

The next man to leave Miami probably won’t be Marcell Ozuna, who is looking like a cornerstone outfielder in 2017 with a 148 wRC+ thanks to 20 home runs and a .383 OBP. That’s a big deal since Ozuna’s career high in home runs is only 23. This year, though, he’s playing even better than Giancarlo Stanton, the guy who is supposed to be Miami’s franchise player but has been beset by injuries during the past two campaigns.

To his credit, Stanton has been healthy and having a productive campaign by hitting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs. He also recently announced that he’ll be participating in the Home Run Derby next month in his home park while defending the title he won last summer in San Diego. With young stars like Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger possibly joining Stanton in the contest, it would be one of the best Home Run Derbies ever.

Thanks to guys like Ozuna, Stanton, and Christian Yelich in the lineup, Miami’s offense has not been bad, but that can’t be said for the pitching staff. The injury to Wei-Yin Chen means that too many starts go to Jeff Locke and Justin Nicolino, two lefties who probably don’t belong in a big league rotation. The bullpen is a little deeper with AJ Ramos and Kyle Barraclough pitching much better in June than they did in May. The emergence of Jarlin Garcia has also been a big help, as the 24-year-old southpaw and his 0.88 WHIP have had little trouble retiring right-handed opponents.

For the Mets, the outfield situation will once again be something to watch. Curtis Granderson was supposed to be seeing a lot of bench time once Yoenis Cespedes returned, but the veteran from Chicago has been impossible to remove from the lineup. On Sunday, he hit another home run and reached base five times to raise his OPS to .786 and put himself on pace for another 20-homer season. Since Michael Conforto suffering a wrist injury upon being hit with a pitch on Sunday, Granderon should only get more time to shine in Miami.

Fans should also watch out for Rene Rivera stealing some playing time from Travis d’Arnaud after the former hit two home runs in San Francisco. New York is still far away from the postseason race and needs to give d’Arnaud a chance to hit while he is healthy. His 87 wRC+ is not impressive, but when you look at his .225 isolated power and .215 BABIP, it’s apparent that the 28-year-old backstop is a better player than he might look right now.

Probable pitchers

Tuesday, June 27: Robert Gsellman vs. Dan Straily, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Gsellman: 73.0 IP, 53 K, 26 BB, 13 HR, 6.04 ERA, 5.27 FIP, 1.62 WHIP

One positive for Gsellman this year has been his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, but that was not the case last Tuesday at Chavez Ravine. The Southern California native gave up four long balls in a 12-0 loss to Los Angeles to raise his ERA by more than half a run. In his last two starts, Gsellman has given up six of his 13 home runs for the year, so his first step to getting back on track should be generating ground balls. When he’s not getting those, Gsellman gives up too much contact to be effective.

Straily: 84.0 IP, 86 K, 27 BB, 10 HR, 3.43 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.10 WHIP

When he beat the Mets back in April, Straily didn’t allow a single hit in five-and-one-third innings, but he also walked five batters and was relieved after 93 pitches. Nowadays, the journeyman right-hander is working deeper into games thanks to a lack of free passes. He’s walked just two batters this month in four starts, and that trend, along with an increase in strikeout rate, has allowed him to become an affordable asset that Miami might want to hang onto through the trade deadline.

Wednesday, June 28: Steven Matz vs. Jeff Locke, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Matz: 20.0 IP, 14 K, 6 BB, 5 HR, 3.60 ERA, 5.89 FIP, 1.10 WHIP

Like seemingly every Mets pitcher last week, Matz allowed multiple home runs in Los Angeles. However, he still made it through six innings with three runs allowed thanks to Terry Collins allowing him to throw 107 pitches. Since Matz has already missed two months of the season, the Mets can afford to be liberal with his pitch count, and that’s going to let the southpaw work deep into games when he doesn’t walk five batters like he did his last time out. Hopefully that’s just a one-time thing and not the start of something ugly.

Locke: 23.2 IP, 20 K, 9 BB, 3 HR, 5.70 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 1.52 WHIP

After missing the first two months of the campaign with biceps tendinitis, Locke’s 2017 has gotten off to a slow start. He had a very solid debut against Arizona on June 1, but since then he’s allowed at least three runs in each of his four outings. In the last two, the lefty didn’t even record an out in the fifth inning. With Wei-Yin Chen taking his time coming back from an elbow injury, Miami might be stuck with Locke for a little while, so he should focus on using his ground ball ability to grind deeper into games.

Thursday, June 29: Seth Lugo vs. Jose Urena, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Lugo: 19.1 IP, 13 K, 7 BB, 2 HR, 3.72 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 1.40 WHIP

Each of Lugo’s three starts have featured fewer innings pitched and more earned runs than the last one. That’s not a good sign considering that his most recent outing was in a pitcher’s park against lowly San Francisco. However, Lugo is just a few outs away from turning the pattern around, and fewer curveballs might be the answer. Over his last two starts, the Louisiana native threw nearly 50 of them while setting a career high with 24 in a single outing.

Urena: 70.1 IP, 44 K, 27 BB, 9 HR, 3.33 ERA, 5.04 FIP, 1.25 WHIP

Urena has been a very pleasant surprise for Miami since shutting out the Mets for six innings during his first start of the season on May 7. He hasn’t pitched a game quite like that during the last two months, but he did just hold the Cubs scoreless for six frames last Friday. Although a lack of strikeouts and a .245 BABIP suggest that Urena isn’t this good, he’s held opponent to a line drive rate below 20 percent, and that’s good enough to make him the third-best guy in Miami’s rotation.

Prediction: Mets win two of three.


How will the Mets fare in Miami this week?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Bienvenidos a Miami! Sweep the Marlins in Miami!
    (36 votes)
  • 35%
    Win two of three.
    (50 votes)
  • 14%
    Win one of three.
    (20 votes)
  • 19%
    Let the trade talks continue.
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    (8 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now