The New York Mets (47-65) will attempt to build upon their series win against the Cincinnati Reds as they embark on a four-city, 11-game road trip. Their first stop will be Florida as they take on the Miami Marlins (47-69), who are in last place in the National League East. The Mets have tallied five wins in nine tries against their divisional foes, including four at Marlins Park.
The Mets won just their second series since mid-May after taking two of three from the last-place Reds. They bookmarked the series with victories thanks to solid starting pitching from Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom and timely hitting, which was sorely missing in their series loss against the Atlanta Braves. Overall, the team went a combined 9-for-36 with runners in scoring position and scored 15 runs after managing just 10 in four games with Atlanta. The bullpen also continued its recent success, allowing three earned runs on 11 hits with 11 strikeouts in 14.1 innings.
Brandon Nimmo, who had cooled off after a torrid start to the season and was just 10-for-his-last-56 coming into the series, erupted for five hits (four doubles) in 12 at-bats against the Reds. The Mets also continued to receive an offensive contribution from the recently-acquired Austin Jackson, who recorded six hits in the three-game set and is now 14-for-32 with a 222 wRC+ and a 1.173 OPS in 11 games with the club.
It wasn’t all sunshine for the Mets, who were stymied by Long Island native Sal Romano and some intense thunderstorms on Tuesday night. Jason Vargas struggled before rain halted play and, as a result, he recorded only one out while being charged with three earned runs. Vargas, who has had a dreadful season, owns a 8.75 ERA, which is almost seven full runs higher than deGrom’s league-leading 1.77 ERA.
The Mets have a complicated and lengthy road trip coming up that begins with three against the Marlins before taking them back to New York for a make-up game at Yankee Stadium on Monday. From there, the club will travel to Maryland for two with the Baltimore Orioles before ending in Pennsylvania with a rare five-game series — which includes a single-admission doubleheader on August 16 — with the first-place Philadelphia Phillies. The road trip will conclude in Williamsport as part of the MLB Little League Classic. The Mets will play 21 games in 20 days and do not have another off-day until August 30.
The Marlins are coming into this series having lost six of their last seven. Their offense has been ice-cold as of late, which has contributed to their recent swoon. In those seven games, they’ve totaled 14 runs and hit .185 with a .507 OPS. The numbers don’t come as much of a surprise after the team traded most of their offensive weapons during the offseason. On the year, the Marlins rank dead-last in the National League with an 83 wRC+ and a .668 OPS. They also walk less than any team in the league, as they’ve put up a 7.4% walk rate.
J.T. Realmuto continues to lead the way offensively for the Marlins, as the catcher leads their lineup with a .290 batting average, an .841 OPS, and a 127 wRC+, and a 3.5 fWAR. Realmuto ranks first in the National League among catchers in fWAR and second in wRC+, batting average, and OPS. There was a lot of chatter about Miami trading him before the season and at the deadline, but despite his offseason trade request he remains the team’s backstop.
The Marlins haven’t performed much better on the mound, as they rank last in the National League with a 4.81 ERA and second-to-last with a 4.53 FIP. The bullpen has been the main culprit, as their collective 5.19 ERA ranks last among all National League teams. Brad Ziegler, who entered the year as their closer, was removed from the role on May 31 after struggling and was eventually traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the deadline. Kyle Barraclough, who had been handling closer responsibilities as of late, was recently removed from the role as well after allowing 16 earned runs in 17.2 innings dating back to mid-June.
Friday, August 10: Zack Wheeler vs. Jose Urena, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Wheeler (2018): 127.1 IP, 125 K, 43 BB, 11 HR, 3.89 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 1.25 WHIP
Wheeler tossed seven shutout innings while allowing three hits and tying a season high with nine strikeouts in his last start against the Braves. After going nearly three months without earning a victory, he’s won his last four starts and has posted a 1.95 ERA, a 2.23 FIP, and a 0.90 WHIP in those outings. He will look to continue his scoreless streak, which has reached 17 consecutive innings, against the Marlins, a team that he has dominated in his career. In nine starts, he has a 2.08 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP against Miami.
Urena (2018): 123.2 IP, 101 K, 43 BB, 15 HR, 4.66 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 1.26 WHIP
Urena was tagged for six earned runs, including three home runs, in five innings against the Phillies his last time out. The Marlins came in to the season expecting Urena to be their ace, but he’s had a rocky season and has failed to live up to his top-of-the-rotation status. He’s allowed five earned runs or more in three of his last four starts, although the fourth start was a six-inning, one-hit effort against the Washington Nationals. He faced the Mets once this year, giving up three earned runs in five innings back in April.
Saturday, August 11: Corey Oswalt vs. Dan Straily, 7:10 p.m. on WPIX
Oswalt (2018): 33.1 IP, 23 K, 9 BB, 7 HR, 5.13 ERA, 5.40 FIP, 1.05 WHIP
Oswalt has the chance to pitch his way onto the team’s 2019 roster if he continues his strong performance. With Steven Matz on the shelf with an injury, Oswalt is getting more opportunities to build on his recent success. Against the Braves his last time out, he made it through six innings while allowing one earned run, but faltered in the seventh and allowed three consecutive hits — including a game-tying home run to Ender Inciarte — before being removed. In four starts dating back to July 9, he has a 3.68 ERA, a 4.24 FIP, and a 0.86 WHIP.
Straily (2018): 93.0 IP, 80 K, 50 BB, 17 HR, 4.35 ERA, 5.45 FIP, 1.39 WHIP
Straily struck out a season-high seven but also walked a season-high five in his last start against the Phillies. He left after just 5.1 innings after tallying 100 pitches, even though he allowed just one hit and two earned runs. It was a good bounce back for Straily, who gave up eight runs (five earned) against the Braves on July 31. He has pitched well against the Mets in 2018, tossing 13 innings in two starts and allowing four earned runs on nine hits.
Sunday, August 12: Noah Syndergaard vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 1:10 p.m. on WPIX
Syndergaard (2018): 88.0 IP, 93 K, 17 BB, 6 HR, 3.17 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 1.22 WHIP
Although the final line from his last start isn’t especially eye-popping (6.1 inning, 4 earned runs, six strikeouts) Syndergaard had another encouraging outing against the Reds. He cruised through six but slipped up in the seventh and was charged with three runs in his final inning of work. Overall, he tossed nearly two-thirds of his 96 pitches for strikes and generated 19 swinging strikes. The Mets are just happy to see Syndergaard on the mound every fifth day after he missed two months earlier this year and most of last season. In four starts since returning from a finger injury, he has a 3.47 ERA, a 2.97 FIP, and a 1.33 WHIP.
Chen (2018): 88.2 IP, 66 K, 42 BB, 14 HR, 5.48 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 1.43 WHIP
Chen is coming off a game in which he shut out the Cardinals in 5.2 innings of work. This continues Chen’s impressive run of success at Marlins Park (1.94 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, .556 opponent OPS), which is a stark contrast from his struggles on the road. Chen is the veteran of the team’s pitching staff and is the second-oldest player on the Marlins, despite being only 33 years old.
Predictions: The Mets will take two out of three against the Marlins
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Marlins?
This poll is closed
A sweep to sink the Marlins further into the cellar
They take two out of three from the pesky Marlins
They lose the series but win one and stay out of last place
The Mets are fish food after suffering a sweep