The Mets (55-49) head south for the sunny beaches of Miami as they square off for four against the Marlins (44-61). Through August, these two division rivals have somehow only played five games against each other, with the Mets splitting two—including winning their home opener—at Citi Field while losing two of three at the comically-named loanDepot Park.
The Mets are coming off a series loss against the Reds. On blackout Friday night, the return of the black jerseys hardly brought back the magic of the late 90s/early 2000s as the Mets fell 6-2. Carlos Carrasco made his Mets debut and, save for the first pitch he threw on the evening, had a solid all-around effort. Jonathan India’s leadoff homer aside, he went four innings and allowed just the one run. The Mets scored a run off Sonny Gray in the first and had the bases loaded with nobody out, but they wouldn’t bring another player home, and Gray would cruise from there. Cincinnati, meanwhile, scored a run off Miguel Castro in the fifth, a run off Drew Smith in the sixth, and three off Anthony Banda in the ninth. In all that, Joey Votto homered in his seventh consecutive game.
On Saturday, New York honored Edgardo Alfonzo, Ron Darling, and Jon Matlack with a Mets Hall of Fame induction ceremony and then won a thrilling 5-4 game in come-from-behind fashion. After jumping ahead 1-0 on a Jonathan Villar single in the third, the Reds scored three in the fourth on a Eugenio Suárez homer off of Rich Hill. The left-hander would surrender a solo shot to Kyle Farmer in the fourth, but the Mets got two back when Javier Báez hit a two-run homer in his first game with the Mets. Things remained that way until the ninth, when Dominic Smith tied the game with a two-out single against Sean Doolittle. Edwin Díaz danced around trouble in the top half of the tenth, which set the stage for the scorching-hot Brandon Drury to win the game with a walk-off single.
The Mets fell 7-1 on Sunday, as the offense couldn’t do much of anything against Vladimir Gutiérrez. Marcus Stroman gave up four runs over 5.2 innings, but really it wouldn’t have mattered what he did, because short of a shutout, the bats remained quiet. The lone run came in the sixth on a Jeff McNeil homer, which came with his club already down 4-0.
McNeil has been the club’s hottest bat as of late, which is nice to see after he struggled for large portions of the season. The foul-mouthed infielder is hitting .355/.412/.581 with a 171 wRC+ over his last 17 games. Drury, of course, has been the team’s hottest bat off the bench and has made it impossible for the Mets to send him back down, even if they needed to. Drury saw his seven-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, but he has been earning more playing time thanks to picking up 11 hits in his previous 15 at-bats, many of which came in a pinch-hitting capacity. On the negative side of things, Michael Conforto continues to look absolutely abysmal at the plate as he heads for free agency. In 28 July games, the outfielder slashed .167/.293/.345 with an 83 wRC+.
The Marlins enter this series on a four-game losing streak, having just been swept by the Yankees after splitting a series with the Orioles prior to that. Miami sold off at the deadline, as was expected, sending outfielder Starling Marte to the Athletics, pitcher John Curtiss to the Brewers, and Adam Duvall to the rival Braves.
The Marlins come into this series third-from-the-bottom in the NL in runs-per-game at 3.90, although they remain ahead of the Mets, who are at 3.82. With Marte no longer in the lineup, the Mets will have to watch out for shortstop Miguel Rojas, who leads the club with a 2.5 fWAR on the season while hitting .267/.328/.399 with a 103 wRC+ in 84 games. With Duvall’s 22 home runs off the books for Miami, first baseman Jesús Aguilar now has the most on the team’s roster with 18 long balls on the season while hitting .264/.327/.466 with a 114 wRC+ and a 1.1 fWAR in a team-high 102 games. Jazz Chisolm, who was recently reinstated from the injured list, remains one of Miami’s most fun players and is slashing .251/.315/.429 with 11 homers, a team-high 11 steals, a 105 wRC+, and a 1.0 fWAR in 74 games.
Monday, August 2: Tylor Megill vs. TBD, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Megill (2021): 35.1 IP, 39 K, 11 BB, 4 HR, 2.04 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 1.1 bWAR
Megill continues to impress and has earned a spot in this rotation for the foreseeable future. The rookie right-hander saw his 17-inning scoreless streak end in his last start against the Braves, as the final pitch he threw was sent over the center field wall by Austin Riley. That would be the only run against Megill’s record for the evening, as he went 5.1 and allowed one run on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Over five starts in July, he pitched to a 1.04 ERA, a 3.00 FIP, and a 1.04 WHIP in 26.0 innings. In all, New York has won six out of his seven starts. With Jacob deGrom (and Noah Syndergaard) not expected back until September (if at all), and with the team mostly standing pat at the deadline, Megill will continue to get chances in this team’s rotation every fifth day.
The Marlins have not yet named a starting pitcher for tonight’s game against the Mets.
Tuesday, August 3: Taijuan Walker vs. TBD, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Walker (2021): 99.1 IP, 97 K, 38 BB, 11 HR, 3.71 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
Over three starts since making his first career All Star Game appearance, Walker has pitched to a 15.43 ERA. As a result, his once-sparkling 2.50 ERA has climbed to a much more pedestrian 3.71 on the season. It’s a disappointing development for the right-hander, who was one of the shining stars of the club’s first-place first half. Fatigue is almost certainly a fact, as Walker has not thrown over 100 pitches in a season—a number he will almost certainly surpass on Tuesday night—since 2017, and has only amassed 67.1 innings over the past three seasons prior to this one. In his last outing against the Braves, Walker was good through three shutout innings but gave up five runs over his last two frames as he was saddled with his second straight loss. He also gave up two homers, which makes five over his last two starts after he had only given up six homers in his previous 17 appearances. Whatever the issue with Walker may be, the Mets will need him to figure it out, because reinforcements aren’t coming for the foreseeable future.
The Marlins have not yet named a starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game against the Mets.
Wednesday, August 4: Carlos Carrasco vs. Zach Thompson, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Carrasco (2021): 4.0 IP, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2.25 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 1.00 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR
Carrasco was solid in his first outing for New York after missing four months with a torn hamstring, which he had suffered during the spring. The first pitch he threw was sent over the left field wall by India, but the veteran settled down and didn’t allow a run the rest of the way. Out of necessity, rather than by design, the Mets decided it was more valuable to have Carrasco stretch out at the major league level rather than with further minor league starts, so expect him to slowly work his innings limit and pitch counts up with the Mets. The right-hander was only expected to go four, and should hopefully be able to add an inning in his Wednesday start.
Thompson (2021): 38.2 IP, 41 K, 14 BB, 3 HR, 2.33 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, 0.9 bWAR
Thompson got called up to the majors back on June 7, and has done more than enough to prove to the Marlins that he’s deserving of a rotation spot. One of several solid young pitchers on Miami’s staff, he has a 2.33 ERA in eight starts so far in his young career. In his last outing, he allowed one run on three hits over 5.2 innings, but he was saddled with his fourth loss. His best outing came back on June 26 against the Nationals, when he went six and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with a career-best 11 strikeouts. This will be his first time facing the Mets.
Thursday, August 5: Rich Hill vs. Trevor Rogers, 12:10 p.m. on SNY
Hill (2021): 105.1 IP, 96 K, 39 BB, 16 HR, 4.10 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR
In his second outing for the Mets, Hill gave his new club another Hill-esque performance. He went five innings and allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts as he once again came away in a no-decision. Hill needed 81 pitches to complete his outing and threw 50 of them (61.7%) for strikes. Staked to a lead to kick off the fourth, he got in trouble and then served up a mammoth three-run homer to Suárez. After a rough inning, he was left in for the fifth, when he promptly surrendered a solo homer to Farmer. Five innings is about the best you can expect from Hill, so in that sense, he has given the team exactly what they should have expected.
Rogers (2021): 110.0 IP, 129 K, 40 BB, 5 HR, 2.45 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 2.9 bWAR
With two months to go in the season, Rogers is likely to get heavy consideration for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and might be the odds-on favorite to take home the prize. The left-hander, who was elected to the NL All Star team in his first full season, has been Miami’s most consistent player. He did just endure a short IL stint with muscle spasms and, in his first outing back, he had his shortest start of the year. He lasted just 3.2 innings against the Yankees, allowing two earned runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He’s struggled a bit over his last six starts, pitching to a 4.13 in 28.1 innings since June 23. He easily handled the Mets back in April, tossing six shutout innings against them while scattering three hits and striking out a career-high 10 batters.
Prediction: The Mets take three out of four from the pesky Marlins!
How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Marlins?
This poll is closed
The Mets fry the fish in a four-game sweep!
The Mets take three out of four to get back on track.
New York and Miami split their four-game set.
The Mets win a game but drop the series.
The Mets are fish food in a four-game sweep in Florida.