If things had broken even slightly better for the Mets this year, the final two weeks of the regular season would have been full of potential, stress, and anxiety. Instead, the Mets are irrelevant when it comes to the current, watered-down version of the playoffs, but they’ll have an opportunity to drag one or two of their division rivals down with them.
Beginning tonight, the Mets play only the Marlins and Phillies for the rest of the season, a scheduling decision that seemed odd from the moment it was announced. Things get underway in Miami, as the Mets play the role of visitors for three games against a Miami team that has exceeded expectations and goes into this series tied with the Cubs for the third Wild Card Spot in the National League. Both of those teams are a half-game behind the Diamondbacks for the second Wild Card spot, a half-game ahead of the Reds, and two games ahead of the Giants.
As for that series the Mets just played against the Reds, it started with a loss in the opener, continued with a loss in the second game, and saw the Mets score eight runs in the finale to win. Their odds of landing a top-six pick in the draft next year are pretty good but far from guaranteed.
Monday, September 18: José Butto vs. Edward Cabrera, 6:40 PM EDT on SNY
Butto (2023): 26.0 IP, 23 K, 18 BB, 1 HR, 3.46 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 1.462 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
There hasn’t been much major league playing time for Butto this year, but the 24-year-old has avoided having any disastrous outings in his six appearances with the Mets this year. His strikeout-to-walk ratio leaves a lot to be desired, but Butto’s two starts since returning to the big leagues as part of the Mets’ rotation in September have gone much better in that regard: 11.1 IP, 13 K, 4 BB.
Cabrera (2023): 85.2 IP, 106 K, 60 BB, 11 HR, 4.52 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 1.436 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR
Coming off a 2022 season in which he had a 3.01 ERA in 14 starts, Cabrera has taken a step back this year. Walks have been a major issue for him, and the issue has not gone away as the season has progressed. Cabrera walked six in two of his last three starts and has issued 14 walks over those three starts in just 11.2 innings of work.
Tuesday, September 19: Joey Lucchesi vs. Braxton Garrett, 6:40 PM EDT on SNY
Lucchesi (2023): 35.0 IP, 24 K, 13 BB, 4 HR, 2.83 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 1.257 WHIP, 0.9 bWAR
Lucchesi and his churve have spent the majority of the 2023 season in Triple-A Syracuse after returning from Tommy John surgery, but when he’s been with the Mets, he’s been good. Having made most of his major league appearances early in the season, Lucchesi made one major league start in August and another just last week. Across those two starts, he hasn’t allowed an earned run—and has allowed just one unearned run.
Garrett (2023): 149.2 IP, 147 K, 27 BB, 18 HR, 3,67 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.156 WHIP, 3.4 bWAR
Among Marlins starting pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings this year, Garrett ranks second in ERA, with only Eury Pérez ahead of him—albeit by more than half a run. But with a low walk rate and an ability to keep home runs to a rate below the major league average, Garrett has been relatively effective.
Wednesday, September 20: Kodai Senga vs. TBD, 6:40 PM EDT on SNY
Senga (2023): 155.1 IP, 191 K, 72 BB, 14 HR, 2.95 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 1.210 WHIP, 4.2 bWAR
With Blake Snell and Justin Steele maintaining a lead over him in ERA, Senga probably won’t win the National League Cy Young this year, but he remains one of the best pitchers in the league. His 2.95 ERA ranks third in the NL among qualified pitchers, and the way he’s been pitching recently, he could cross the 200-strikeout threshold during this start. The Mets’ season began with a couple of much bigger names atop the rotation, but Senga wound up being the best pitcher to don a Mets uniform in 2023.
Eury Pérez (2023): 88.1 IP, 106 K, 28 BB, 14 HR, 3.06 ERA, 3.934 FIP, 1.098 WHIP, 2.4 bWAR
The Marlins haven’t officially named a starter for the series finale, but Pérez would be on turn and figures to make this start. Incredibly effective in his time in the big leagues as a 20-year-old rookie, he found himself demoted to Double-A by the Marlins in the middle of the season. Officially, the team said it did so to limit the young pitcher’s workload.
How will the Mets fare in their three-game series against the Marlins?
This poll is closed
Fish Fry: The Mets sweep!
Baked Haddock: The Mets take two of three.
Fish Sticks: The Marlins take two of three.
Fried by the Fish: The Marlins sweep.