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Mets take on the Marlins at Citi Field

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The Mets host the last-place Marlins at Citi Field for the first time this season.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets (23-19) wrap up their eight-game homestand with a series against the Miami Marlins (17-29), who despite being last in the NL East have been playing better baseball since their initial meeting with the Mets in April.

Prior to their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Mets took a big blow to their outfield as Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares was lost for the season after tearing a ligament in his big toe. Requiring surgery, Lagares will again have his season cut short for the third straight year. Brandon Nimmo will likely see more playing time in the outfield alongside Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce, and is one of the best options the Mets have hitting leadoff.

Coming off an elbow injury and pitching a very weird one-inning, 45-pitch start in Philadelphia, Jacob deGrom was back to his deGrominant ways on Friday night. deGrom tied a career-high in strikeouts, punching out 13 D-Backs in a 3-1 win. A 4-for-4 night with two RBIs from the resurging Conforto and perfect relief innings from Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia helped seal the victory.

Steven Matz took the hill on Saturday night and only lasted four innings, giving up home runs to Paul Goldschmidt and John Ryan Murphy in the fourth inning. The Mets bullpen would keep the D-Backs scoreless for the rest of the game, setting the stage for Devin Mesoraco, who launched a clutch two-run homer to tie the game off of Archie Bradley in the eighth inning. Wilmer Flores would once again provide walk-off heroics, sending a deep fly ball out to left field to allow Brandon Nimmo to score from third, sealing a 5-4 victory and giving Flores his eighth career walk-off RBI.

Sunday afternoon belonged to Amed Rosario, as he would have his first multi-homer game with his first two homers of the season in consecutive innings. After a solo shot in the sixth that chased Clay Buchholz out of the game, Rosario would go back-to-back after Asdrubal Cabrera’s pinch-hit two-run blast off of Jorge De La Rosa to give the Mets the lead in the seventh. Noah Syndergaard earned his fourth win of 2018, going seven strong innings with seven strikeouts and one run allowed on six hits. Robert Gsellman recorded his first career save by striking out the side in the ninth, securing a 4-1 win and a series sweep of the D-Backs.

The Mets now turn their focus to a Marlins team fresh off a painful loss to the Braves in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. Leading 9-4 heading into the bottom of the 9th, Brad Ziegler and Tayron Guerrero combined to blow Miami’s five-run lead as the Braves batted around as a series of misplays and singles ending in a Dansby Swanson walk-off hit led to a miraculous comeback for the Braves.

The Marlins infield has done most of the damage on offense. With a .401 OBP and nine home runs, first baseman Justin Bour is a dangerous bat that will need some tiptoeing around. Shortstop Miguel Rojas has turned some heads with surprising power, hitting seven home runs and 20 RBI in his first season as an everyday player for Miami. Leadoff hitter and catcher J.T. Realmuto has been the subject of many trade rumors this year for good reason. After starting the season on the DL with a back injury, Realmuto has looked like his All-Star self, posting a .940 OPS in 27 games.

Miami’s bullpen will look a bit different in this series, as Junichi Tazawa was designated for assignment on Thursday after posting a disappointing 9.00 ERA and 2.05 WHIP in 20 innings. Jarlin Garcia, who looked dominant in March/April with a 1.00 ERA and threw six hitless innings against the Mets, has had a string of rough starts against the Cubs and Braves and has since been moved to the bullpen to give way for rookie Eliser Hernandez, whom the Mets will face Tuesday night.

Probable Pitchers

Monday, May 21: Elieser Hernandez vs. Jason Vargas, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Hernandez (2018): 8 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2.25 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 1.25 WHIP

A Rule-5 draft pick from the Houston Astros, Hernandez makes his second career start after two appearances out of the bullpen, taking the rotation spot of Jarlin Garcia. Hernandez threw five innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers, with his only blemish coming from a Yasmani Grandal solo homer.

Vargas (2018): 12.1 IP, 9 K, 7 BB, 5 HR, 13.86 ERA, 8.90 FIP, 2.67 WHIP

Vargas, for lack of a better term, has been awful in his three starts this season. After getting roughed up by the Padres, Braves, and Reds lineups, Vargas’ rotation spot was skipped and hasn’t pitched since May 8th. Hopefully the near two-week gap in starts has allowed Vargas to address whatever issues had plagued him to get back on track in 2018, or else his two year, $16 million contract will become an unsightly burden.

Tuesday, May 22: Caleb Smith vs. Zack Wheeler, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Smith (2018): 42.2 IP, 57 K, 23 BB, 4 HR, 4.22 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 1.29 WHIP

Smith had a short start against the Dodgers on Thursday, coughing up four runs and walking four in three innings. Smith can rack up strikeouts and has allowed more than five hits in a start once this year, but pitch command has been an issue for the former Yankees farmhand.

Wheeler (2018): 38 IP, 38 K, 17 BB, 6 HR, 5.92 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.55 WHIP

Wheeler had a tale of two starts last Wednesday against the Blue Jays. After six strikeouts, no walks, and one run allowed in the first three innings, Wheeler had to wait 38 minutes between the last pitch of the third inning to his first in the fourth due to a lengthy on-field weather delay to repair a water-logged infield. The wheels came off shortly thereafter as he would surrender five more runs and three walks, including the pitcher J.A. Happ, before being taken out in the fifth. Hopefully the weather won’t be as miserable for Wheeler Tuesday night as he looks for a bounce back outing.

Wednesday, May 23: Dan Straily vs. Jacob deGrom, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Straily (2018): 20 IP, 14 K, 14 BB, 4 HR, 3.60 ERA, 6.60 FIP, 1.45 WHIP

Straily got his second consecutive win against the Braves on Friday night, going seven scoreless with six strikeouts and three hits allowed. Straily looks to provide stability to a rocky Marlins rotation after missing the first month of the season with right forearm inflammation.

deGrom (2018): 51.1 IP, 69 K, 14 BB, 2 HR, 1.75 ERA, 1.84 FIP, 1.01 WHIP

deGrom has arguably been the Mets’ most valuable pitcher the first two months of the season. After a masterful 13 strikeout performance versus the D-Backs, deGrom faces the team who gave him his roughest start in 2018. Allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings on April 10th, deGrom will look to improve against the ever-pesky Marlins lineup and remain undefeated.

Prediction: Mets take two of three from Miami

Poll

What will the Mets do against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Continue streaking and sweep the fish!
    (51 votes)
  • 48%
    Take two, drop one.
    (82 votes)
  • 7%
    Win just one of three.
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    Lose all good will from the weekend sweep and get swept themselves.
    (6 votes)
  • 11%
    Pizza!
    (19 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now