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Mets kick off final homestand with four against Marlins

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The Mets can clinch their first winning record since 2016.

Miami Marlins vs New York Mets Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The New York Mets (81-74) will return to Citi Field to finish off the 2019 season as they welcome the Miami Marlins (54-101) to Flushing for four games. The Mets have won 11 of the 15 games they’ve played with the Marlins this season, including all six at home. New York swept a four game series back in August, which originally propelled them over the .500 mark for the first time since the earlier stages of the season.

Needing to win every game, the Mets couldn’t quite do what they had to against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Things got off on a positive note on Friday in a pitcher’s duel between Jacob deGrom and Luis Castillo. The two aces matched zeroes through five, but Jeff McNeil broke through with a solo home run in the sixth. The flood gates opened from there, as Amed Rosario added a two-run shot in the seventh on the final pitch Castillo threw on the evening. Pete Alonso added his 50th in the next inning, and the Mets poured it on in the ninth to come away with an 8-1 win.

It was an entirely different story on Saturday, as the Mets seemingly used up all their offense the previous night. They managed three hits against Anthony DeSclafani and a collection of Reds’ relievers. Zack Wheeler overcame a tough first that featured a couple of mistakes by Todd Frazier and pitched seven strong innings, but it wasn’t enough. The Mets tied the game on a Brandon Nimmo bases loaded hit-by-pitch, but both McNeil and Alonso struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat. In the eighth, Justin Wilson got into a bit of trouble and Seth Lugo couldn’t quite get out of it. After coming in with runners on first and second and one out, he struck out one pinch hitter but then surrendered a go-ahead hit to nemesis Christian Colon. The deciding hit resulted in a devastating 3-2 loss.

The Mets capped off a winning road trip on Sunday, coming out on top 6-3 in the series finale. Marcus Stroman was clearly not well as he was battling some sort of illness on the mound, but fought through 4.2 innings before tiring out. The bullpen allowed one run over the final 4.1 innings to secure the win, with Justin Wilson closing things out in the ninth. Offensively, the team got a big three-run home run in the first from the slumping Michael Conforto to finish off a four-run-frame. Later on, J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo each added solo home runs for some added insurance. Robinson Cano, who drove in Alonso in the first with a two-out double, was forced to leave the game after getting hit on his big toe in his second plate appearance.

With the 4-2 road trip, the Mets concluded the 2019 regular season at 38-43 away from Queens. The math certainly does not appear to be in the Mets’ favor as they come home to finish the year. The Washington Nationals lost on Sunday, as did the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers improved to 10-2 since losing MVP-candidate Christian Yelich and are now 17-4 in the month of September. New York is four-and-a-half games back of both the Nationals and Brewers and a half-game behind the Cubs at the start of play on Monday. It certainly seems the better bet is hoping for a complete and total collapse from the Nationals, who play five games against the Philadelphia Phillies before finishing the year with three against the Cleveland Indians at home. The Brewers, meanwhile, hit the road to face the Reds and the Colorado Rockies. The Cubs also play their final six away from Wrigley Field as they visit the Pittsburgh Pirates—losers of nine in a row—and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Besides the actual games, the final six will feature Alonso’s chase for 52 home runs and Jacob deGrom’s bid to win his second straight Cy Young Award. Alonso has seven games to hit two dingers to tie Aaron Judge’s record and three to set the new mark by which rookie sluggers are measured. Assuming he remains healthy, he should be in the lineup for all seven games. The Mets’ ace will make his final start on Wednesday as he looks to cement his place as the no-doubt-about-it choice for the Cy Young award. He carries a 14 inning scoreless streak into the start.

The Marlins enter this series after winning in come-from-behind fashion at home on Sunday against the Nationals. They dropped the first two games, although they did put up a four-spot in the eighth on Saturday night to force extra innings before succumbing in the tenth. After narrowly avoiding 100 losses last season and finishing with a 63-98 record, Miami dropped their 100th and 101th games in their last series. With one loss in this series, the Marlins will have accumulated 200 combined losses in 2018 and 2019.

Monday, September 23: Caleb Smith vs. Steven Matz, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Smith (2019): 144.1 IP., 164 K, 52 BB, 30 HR, 4.24 ERA, 4.86 FIP, 1.16 WHIP

Smith will finish off a solid third season in which he set career highs in starts (26), innings pitched (144.1), strikeouts (164) and a career-best WHIP (1.16). He wasn’t at his best his last time out against the Arizona Diamondbacks but still picked up his ninth win of 2019 with five innings of four-run ball. He surrendered eight hits and one walk while striking out four. He is two starts removed from one of his best starts of 2019, when the left-hander went six scoreless while scattering four hits and striking out eight. In two starts against the Mets this year, he’s gone a combined 11 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with 14 strikeouts while coming away with one win and a no decision.

Matz (2019): 149.1 IP, 143 K, 47 BB, 25 HR, 4.16 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 1.33 WHIP

Oh, Steven. What are the Mets going to do with you? After a truly impressive run that gave the team ideas of what he could be in 2020, he promptly went out and got shelled in an outing on the road against the Rockies. He’s been bad for most of the season on the road, but his recent performances perhaps made it seem as if he left those troubles in the past. In his last start, he was splendid over three innings but fell apart in the fourth and gave up six runs, including a two-run hit to the light-hitting pitcher. In total, he was charged with seven earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks in four innings. It was the sixth time this year that he had allowed at least two home runs in a start. He now owns an unsightly 6.62 ERA in 15 road starts, as opposed to a 1.94 ERA at Citi Field in 15 appearances. His numbers are so stark, the team flip-flopped him with Stroman so that he can make his last two starts at Citi Field. On the bright side, he made his 30th start for the second consecutive season, which is a big milestone as he looks to put his injury troubles behind him.

Tuesday, September 24: Sandy Alcantara vs. Noah Syndergaard, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Alcantara (2019): 184.1 IP, 140 K, 80 BB, 21 HR, 4.00 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 1.33 WHIP

After two stellar starts against the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, in which he pitched a complete game shutout against the former and seven innings of one-run ball against the latter, Alcantara took a step back in his last start. He was charged with five runs (four earned) on seven hits over 5.2 innings as he took his league-leading 14th loss against the Diamondbacks on September 18. Despite that, it’s been a good year for the third-year pitcher, who was the lone representative for Miami in the All Star game and has an ERA right at four entering Tuesday’s start. He’s faced the Mets four times this year, including a complete game two-hit shutout back in May. Overall, his team has lost three of the four games he’s started against New York, with Alcantara allowing ten earned runs over 25.2 innings.

Syndergaard (2019): 185.2 IP, 186 K, 48 BB, 22 HR, 4.22 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 1.22 WHIP

For the third straight start, Syndergaard exited with four earned runs against him. In his outing against Colorado, he gave up ten hits for only the third time in 2019 as he struck out six and walked two over 5.2 innings of work. He needed 108 pitches to get out of trouble but couldn’t escape the sixth inning. The catcher controversy has enveloped the 27-year-old as of late, and there is a good chance either Tomas Nido or Rene Rivera will catch his final two starts this year. He’s make two solid starts against the Marlins this year, going a combined 14 innings with four earned runs on ten hits with 12 strikeouts. The right-hander needs 14 more punch outs to eclipse 200 for only the second time in his career.

Wednesday September 25: Robert Dugger vs. Jacob deGrom, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Dugger (2019): 32.1 IP, 22 K, 15 BB, 5 HR, 4.45 ERA, 5.73 FIP, 1.30 WHIP

Dugger will make only the sixth start of his career against the team that he debuted against back on August 5 in the first game of a single-admission doubleheader. In that start, the Mets roughed up the right-hander for six earned runs on five hits over five innings. Since then, he’s put together three quality starts but has yet to earn his first major league win. In his last outing, he gave up four earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks in five innings against the Nationals. He served up two home runs and has given up five already in his young career. He has also had control issues early on, with 15 walks in just 32.1 innings.

deGrom (2019): 197.0 IP, 248 K, 43 BB, 19 HR, 2.51 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 0.99 WHIP

The 2019 NL Cy Young Award should go to deGrom, who has been every bit as spectacular as of late as he was at any point in his award-winning 2018 season. With Hyun-Jin Ryu’s ERA climbing to 2.41 in his last outing, and Max Scherzer struggling as of late, combined with the injury troubles of both his competitors, it’s really a no-brainer that the award should go to deGrom. While the numbers, from a historical perspective, don’t match what he did last season, he still carries a beyond-impressive ERA, FIP, and WHIP into what will likely be his final start of the season. He also has a 14 inning scoreless streak that he will look to improve upon heading into this start. In his last appearance, he scattered four hits over seven shutout innings to pick up his tenth win of 2019. He struck out nine and continues to lead the league in that category with 248. Over his last two starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Reds, he’s given up only seven hits and has not walked a batter while striking out 17 hitters. if he can accomplish the feat, he will join Tom Seaver as the only Mets to win multiple Cy Young awards.

Thursday, September 26: Jordan Yamamoto vs. Zack Wheeler, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Yamamoto (2019): 72.2 IP, 72 K, 33 BB, 11 HR, 4.83 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 1.18 WHIP

Yamamoto will finish off his rookie campaign with his 15th start as a big leaguer. The 23-year-old Hawaii native will look to even up his record and recapture some of the magic he had in his earlier starts. In his first two major league appearances, he pitched seven shutout innings in each against the Cardinals while scattering five hits and four walks and striking out 12. In fact, he picked up wins in each of his three outings but has only managed once since then. He was a bit better in his last start, allowing two earned runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings, but he couldn’t make it through five for the second straight start. In his lone appearance against the Mets, he gave up four earned runs on five hits over six innings to absorb the loss.

Wheeler (2019): 187.1 IP, 185 K, 50 BB, 20 HR, 3.99 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.29 WHIP

Unless the Mets can defy all odds and sneak their way into the postseason, this could very well be Wheeler’s last appearance as a Met. The 29-year-old has had a terrific season with some inconsistent performances sprinkled in, especially early on. He wasn’t quite able to capture the sustained dominance he had in the second half of 2018, but he’s also been a reliable middle-of-the-rotation piece for the team. He’s been especially tremendous in his last five starts, posting a 1.41 ERA and a 2.25 FIP with 29 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. He’s picked up two of his 11 wins this year against the Marlins, including eight shutout innings back on August 6.

Prediction: The Mets and Marlins will split four games.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Marlins?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    The Mets make it three sweeps at Citi Field against the Marlins in 2019!
    (70 votes)
  • 26%
    The Mets snag three of four to keep their playoff hopes alive.
    (32 votes)
  • 2%
    The Mets and Marlins play to a split over the four games.
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    The Mets drop three of four as they see their playoff hopes disappear.
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    The Mets are swimming with the fishes as they’re swept away by the Marlins.
    (4 votes)
  • 5%
    Pizza!
    (6 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now