The Mets (63-67) will look to build upon their first series win since mid-August when they take on the last-place Marlins (55-76). Both teams are riding modest two-game winning streaks into Tuesday’s doubleheader. The two squads have not faced off at Citi Field since opening weekend, when they split a pair, with the third game getting suspended after two batters, resulting in the series-opening twin bill. Overall, New York has dropped six of nine to Miami in 2021.
The Mets took two out of three against the Nationals at Citi Field over the weekend and, overall, have picked up five of their eight August victories against Washington. The series began ominously, with the Mets once again dropping a one-run ballgame, this time by a 2-1 score. It was their eighth consecutive one-run loss. The Nationals jumped out early against Rich Hill, but he settled down and provided five solid inning, and the bullpen one-hit Washington over the last four frames. Sadly, aside from a Javier Báez solo homer, the offense was again stagnant as they managed just four hits.
The Mets ended their four-game losing streak and seven-game home losing streak—their longest since 2018—with a 5-3 victory on the night they honored Jerry Koosman by retiring his number 36. The Mets fell behind 2-0 behind Marcus Stroman, but Kevin Pillar homers in the third and fifth knotted up the score. After Trevor May allowed a run to score in the seventh on a wild pitch, which resulted in a short-lived Nationals lead, the Mets jumped ahead for the first time in the series thanks to a Michael Conforto pinch hit three-run homer. Seth Lugo and Edwin Díaz closed the door to secure the victory.
The Mets took the series with a resounding 9-4 win on Sunday. It was the first time putting up nine since July 19, and only the third time this month they’ve put up more than seven. With the team down 2-1, Báez hit a two-run bomb to put the Mets ahead, and debuted a new thumbs down celebration with his club that became the talk for much of the rest of the evening. Pete Alonso added a run-scoring hit in the fifth, and Juan Soto countered with a sixth inning solo homer. Dominic Smith then got that run back, and Jonathan Villar hit a two-run homer to make it 7-3. Despite a Josh Bell dinger—his second of the game—the Mets tacked on two insurance runs to get the win.
Villar, who hit a homer in yesterday’s win, has continued to excel at the plate when given the opportunity. Since August 10, the infielder is slashing .355/.420/.565 with a 170 wRC+ in 70 plate appearances. He has five homers in the month and is second on the team—Báez excluded—with 15 homers, behind only Alonso. His 2.1 fWAR on the season is third behind Brandon Nimmo and Alonso for position players. Alonso has also had a great stretch since August 10, hitting .329/.393/.605 with five homers and a 167 wRC+ in 84 plate appearances.
The Marlins took three out of four games from the Mets back at Marlins Park during the first week of August, which helped kick-start New York’s slide out of first place. Since then, the Marlins have gone 8-14. They are coming off a 4-2 homestand against the Nationals and Reds.
Rookie Bryan De La Cruz, who picked up his first career multi-hit game against the Mets earlier this month, has been the team’s best hitter in August. The outfielder, who made his debut on July 30, owns a team-bet 153 wRC+ while slashing .384/.413/.512 in 26 August games. Jesús Aguilar leads the team with four home runs while hitting .241/.337/.434 with a 112 wRC+ in 25 games this month. Lewis Brinson, meanwhile, is hitting .244/.293/.453 with four home runs and a 104 wRC+ in 24 August games.
Tuesday, August 31: TBD vs. Taijuan Walker, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
The Marlins have not yet announced their plan for the pitching matchups in today’s doubleheader. John Curtiss originally started this game back on April 11, and he has since been dealt to the Brewers.
Walker (2021): 129.2 IP, 117 K, 46 BB, 18 HR, 3.82 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR
It appears Walker will pick up where Stroman left off on April 11, with one out and a runner on first before play was suspended due to rain. Walker was terrific in his last start, holding San Francisco to three runs (two earned) on two hits with one walk and three strikeouts over six innings. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for him to avoid picking up the loss, as the offense came up empty. Walker has now lost six straight decisions, including losses in four out of five August starts. Much of that isn’t his fault, as he’s been much better this month following a rough July. He’s gone at least six innings in each of his last four starts, during which he owns a 3.65 ERA, a 5.23 FIP, and a 0.81 WHIP in 24.2 innings.
Tuesday, August 31: TBD vs. Trevor Williams, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
The Marlins have not yet announced their plan for the second game of today’s split-admission doubleheader against the Mets.
Williams (2021): 67.1 IP, 66 K, 26 BB, 10 HR, 4.54 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 1.46 WHIP, 0.2 bWAR
It seems that Williams will get the nod in the second game of today’s doubleheader. Since arriving from Chicago in the Báez deal, he has pitched to a 1.04 ERA, a 3.74 FIP, and a 0.92 WHIP in 8.2 innings. Overall, he’s allowed one earned run on four hits, with four walks and five strikeouts in one start and two relief outings. He started the second game of a doubleheader against the Nationals on August 12, going 4.1 innings and allowing a run on three hits. His most recent outing came as a reliever on August 24 against the Giants, when he limited them to one hit over 2.1 scoreless frames.
Wednesday, September 1: Zach Thompson vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Thompson (2021): 62.2 IP, 52 K, 22 BB, 6 HR, 3.16 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR
Thompson has been terrific since debuting for Miami back on June 7. The 27-year-old has now made 13 starts for the Marlins and hasn’t given up more than four earned runs in any single start. The right-hander has gone at least five in each of his last three starts, his longest such streak at the major league level. In his last outing, Thompson went five and gave up five runs (three earned) on a career-high six hits against the Reds. He has thrown exactly 73 pitches in each of his last two starts, and has tossed between 72 and 77 pitches in each of his August appearances. He’ll likely be at that number when he faces the Mets, whom he took on back on August 4. In that game, he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits in four innings.
Carrasco (2021): 23.1 IP, 23 K, 4 BB, 6 HR, 6.94 ERA, 5.05 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, -0.4 bWAR
Carrasco is coming off far and away his best outing as a member of the Mets. The veteran right-hander tossed a season-high seven innings, limiting the powerful Giants’ lineup to two earned runs on three hits. He didn’t walk anyone while striking out five. The lone blemish against his record came in the first inning, when he served up a two-run home run to Kris Bryant. After that, he sat down 20 of the final 21 batter he faced, and the last ten hitters after Tommy La Stella’s third inning double. It was a great building block as he look to get back on track following his missing much of the year.
Thursday, September 2: Sandy Alcantara vs. Rich Hill, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Alcantara (2021): 165.2 IP, 158 K, 47 BB, 17 HR, 3.27 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 2.9 bWAR
Alcantara continues to establish himself as one of the most unheralded up-and-coming aces in the league, and is just one of Miami’s many bright young starters. Following his 2019 All Star campaign, he’s fourth in the National League in innings and 11th among qualified NL starters in HR/9 (0.93) in 2021. He has been terrific in August, aside from one truly disastrous outing. In his start against the Rockies at Coors Field, he was tattooed for ten earned runs on ten hits over 3.2 innings. In his other five starts this month, he’s allowed four earned runs on 21 hits in 36.0 innings. Walks continue to be his downfall, as he has the eighth-worst BB/9 (2.56) among qualified NL starters. He has not yet faced the Mets this year, but he owns a 2.79 ERA in eight starts against them in his career.
Hill (2021): 127.0 IP, 115 K, 43 BB, 19 HR, 4.11 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR
Hill turned in one of his better outings as a Met. He got into early trouble and allowed two third inning runs before settling down. He struck out eight Nationals’ batters, which was his most punch outs in an outing as a member of the Mets. He also didn’t issue a free pass for the third straight start, and he once again topped off at five innings in his outing. Due to his team’s ineptitude at the plate, he was saddled with a hard-luck loss as he continues to search for his first win as a member of the Mets. He faced this Miami team earlier in August, holding them to one unearned run on three hits over five innings.
Prediction: The Mets and Marlins split Tuesday’s doubleheader, Wednesday night’s game is rained out, and the Mets fall on Thursday to drop the series.
How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Marlins?
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The Mets sweep the Marlins!
The Mets return the favor by taking three of four in New York
The Mets split a pair with the Marlins.
The Mets continue to flounder as they drop three out of four.
The Mets are swept at home by the last-place Marlins.