And then there were three: the New York Mets (75-84) will finish things off in 2018 with a three-game set against the Miami Marlins (62-96). The Mets, who have already secured a season series victory over the Marlins by taking 10 of 16 games this year, are in the midst of perhaps their best month of the season. They have won 16 games so far in September while losing nine.
The Mets are coming off a series victory against the Braves which ended Atlanta’s hopes of having the best record in the National League and securing home field throughout the National League postseason. Jacob deGrom made his final pitch for the Cy Young Award on Saturday and, to nobody’s surprise, was magnificent in eight scoreless innings. He struck out 10—the last of which was the 1,000th of his career—to end his year with 269 strikeouts and allowed just two hits. He lowered his ERA to 1.70 and his FIP to 1.98 and became only the third pitcher since 1908 to end his season with a sub-2.00 ERA, 250-plus strikeouts, and fewer than 50 walks. By everyone’s estimation, deGrom is the odds-on favorite to take home the National League Cy Young Award after concluding one of the best seasons for a pitcher in the modern era.
In general, the starting pitching was nearly untouchable and stymied Atlanta during the three-game set. Noah Syndergaard, fighting an illness, pitched six scoreless innings and scattered three hits before the bullpen imploded in the seventh and eighth and let Atlanta escape with a 7-3 victory. Last night, Jason Vargas saved the best for last and closed out his 2018 with his finest performance. Vargas — who threw a pitch in the seventh inning for the first time all year — shut out the Braves through seven frames while allowing three hits and striking out six. In total, Mets starters tossed 21 innings, allowed no runs on eight hits, walked two, and struck out 21 batters.
All eyes will be on David Wright this weekend, as he is set to play his final game on Saturday against the Marlins. He will start a game for the first time since May 27, 2016 and is expected to play five innings at third base, which should afford him two at-bats in the game. Many have speculated that he could potentially pinch-hit on Friday night as well. The atmosphere on Saturday is expected to be electric, with tickets already sold out and going for exorbitant prices on the secondary markets.
Wright will go down as one of the best players in franchise history and one of the few stars to play his entire career with the club. In 5,996 at-bats and 1,583 games, he is slashing .296/.376/.491 with a 133 wRC+ and a 52.3 fWAR. His 242 career home runs rank second behind Darryl Strawberry for the club record, and he has more hits (1,777), runs (949), runs batted in (970), doubles (390), and walks (761) than any Mets player.
Mickey Callaway has also noted that Jose Reyes will start the game at shortstop, marking the first time that the two best friends and former cornerstones of the team’s future will start on the left side of the infield since the final game of the 2011 season. This weekend will likely conclude Reyes’s tenure with the team as well after he has endured the worst season of his 16-year career. Reyes is the all-time Mets leader in triples (113) and stolen bases (408).
The Marlins were swept in a three-game series by the Washington Nationals after they took three of four from the Cincinnati Reds prior to that. This season has gone about as you would expect from Don Mattingly’s club, as they will just avoid getting to 100 losses. The Marlins rank dead-last in the National League in runs scored (581) and team OPS (.662) and are second-to-last in team wRC+ (84). Things aren’t much better on the pitching side, as Miami has the highest team ERA (4.84) and second-highest FIP (4.69) and HR/9 (1.22) in the National League.
After being bought by a group led by Derek Jeter, the Marlins jettisoned some of their most potent offensive talent, including 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and 2018 NL MVP hopeful Christian Yelich. Yelich, who has excelled with the Milwaukee Brewers, has a 161 wRC+ and a 6.9 fWAR this season. Stanton, now with the New York Yankees, has a 124 wRC+ and a 3.9 fWAR, while Marcell Ozuna, who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, has a 106 wRC+ and a 2.6 fWAR. For comparison, Marlins outfielders have posted a cumulative 86 wRC+ and 1.5 fWAR this year.
Friday, September 28: Jose Urena vs. Corey Oswalt, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Urena (2018): 168.0 IP, 128 K, 47 BB, 19 HR, 4.07 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 1.17 WHIP
Urena has picked up a victory in each of his past four starts and is having far and away his best month of the season. Urena has a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings pitched in September and is striking out opposing hitters at a 20% clip. Out of 90 total batters faced, only 20 have reached against him. Opponents are hitting just .167 in that span with a .508 OPS. That’s a stark contrast from April - August, when batters were hitting .246 against him with a .694 OPS. Last Monday, Urena lasted 5.2 innings and allowed no runs on three hits against the Reds. His last start against the Mets was also his best against them this year, as he allowed one earned run on four hits in 6.1 innings.
Oswalt (2018): 60.2 IP, 41 K, 17 BB, 14 HR, 6.08 ERA, 5.84 FIP, 1.35 WHIP
Oswalt is coming off his longest major league appearance since he pitched six innings in three consecutive August starts. He lasted five against the Nationals and allowed two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts in the loss. Despite a high ERA and FIP, Oswalt has some positives to build on following his first run in the major leagues, including a solid run of starts that began on July 9 and ran through August 11. In those five outings, he posted a 3.86 ERA and a 4.05 FIP in 28 innings with a 17.6% strikeout rate and a 5.6% walk rate. He has fared better as a starter than a reliever this year, posting a 4.91 ERA when starting (51.1 innings) as opposed to a 12.54 ERA when coming out of the bullpen (9.1 innings).
Saturday, September 29: Trevor Richards vs. Steven Matz, 7:10 p.m. on WPIX
Richards (2018): 119.2 IP, 122 K, 52 BB, 15 HR, 4.66 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.40 WHIP
Richards has had a bumpy first year in the major leagues but is coming off perhaps his most impressive and complete start in his young career. Richards, who was ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the Marlins’ system coming into the year, tossed seven shutout innings against the Reds while scattering three hits and striking out nine. The feat matches an April start when he shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates through seven and gave up just two hits while striking out two. The 25-year-old Richards was on the losing end of that 13-0 Mets win earlier this month, though he was only responsible for six of those runs.
Matz (2018): 148.0 IP, 144 K, 57 BB, 25 HR, 4.14 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 1.27 WHIP
For Matz, start number 30 will serve as a symbolic victory that he can use to build upon in 2019 and beyond. The oft-injured left-hander endured some minor aches and pains but avoided any catastrophic injury and significant time on the disabled list, both of which have become all too commonplace during his young career. On the downside, he continues to struggle with high pitch counts early in his outings and issues far too many walks (his 9.00% walk rate and his 3.47 BB/9 are both career high). In his last appearance against the Nationals, he lasted just three innings and surrendered three earned runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Regardless of how his season finale ends up, he will finish with a career high in innings pitched and strikeouts. With a solid start, he can lower his ERA below four and take that positive feeling into the offseason.
Sunday, September 30: Sandy Alcantara vs. Noah Syndergaard, 3:10 p.m. on SNY
Alcantara (2018): 27.0 IP, 20 K, 21 BB, 3 HR, 4.00 ERA, 5.68 FIP, 1.56 WHIP
Alcantara was roughed up in his last start as he allowed a career-high six earned runs and seven hits across four innings of work. Alcantara, who has made five career starts — all with the Marlins this year — has struggled badly with walks. His BB%, at 17.5%, is currently higher than his K%, which stands at 16.7% (he has walked 21 batters while striking out 20). He did handle the Mets fairly well in a start against them on September 13, pitching seven innings of two-run ball while allowing two hits and walking three while striking out six.
Syndergaard (2018): 145.1 IP, 149 K, 39 BB, 9 HR, 3.22 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 1.25 WHIP
The Mets’ season will end as it began in March: with Noah Syndergaard toeing the rubber. In his last start against the Braves, he pitched six terrific innings while battling an illness that prevented him from going deeper into the game. He allowed three hits and struck out five but saw his lead evaporate once the bullpen entered in the seventh. It has been a perplexing year for Syndergaard, who battled a two-month finger injury and missed some starts with hand, foot, and mouth disease. The injuries prevented him from getting into a rhythm, and he often failed to display the dominance Mets fans have come to expect from him. He often struggled to put batters away and toiled with high pitch counts while registering a career-low K% (24.3%) and a career-high BB% (6.4%). With deGrom’s dominance and Zack Wheeler’s resurgence, Syndergaard working out his problems in the offseason could go a long way towards giving the team the best one-two-three in the National League heading into 2019.
Prediction: The Mets will sweep their series against the Marlins and David Wright will hit a home run in his final game!
How will the Mets fare in their three game series with the Marlins?
This poll is closed
The Mets use the good vibes from David Wright weekend and sweep the Marlins!
Finish the season off strong, take two and head into the offseason.
Mets take a game but limp to the finish line after dropping the series.
Mets get swept. Who cares, season’s over anyway.
Pizza (one last slice for the 2018 season)!!