Series Preview: Miami Marlins vs. New York Mets

The New York Mets could not have asked for a better result in its first home series of the season, sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game set. The only downside to the series was the hamstring injury suffered by David Wright that put him on the 15-day disabled list.

The Mets are hosting the Miami Marlins for a four-game series this weekend at Citi Field. The Marlins are led by superstar Giancarlo Stanton, playing in the first season of a 13-year $325 million contract signed this winter. The Marlins are 3-6 on the season and coming off of its first series win this season against the Atlanta Braves.

The Marlins made several acquisitions this offseason, including: Ichiro Suzuki, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, David Phelps Michael Morse and Martin Prado.

Thursday’s Matchup:

RHP Jarred Cosart (0-1, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

Cosart was traded from the Houston Astros at last year’s deadline and pitched very well for the Marlins, posting a 2.39 ERA in 10 starts. Although he throws relatively hard (93.8 MPH avg. fastball), Cosart has struggled to strike out hitters at the major league level, with only 5.44 per nine innings in his career. This could be due to his below average curveball and changeup that have had negative value in every year of his three-year career.

Gee struggled in his 2015 debut against the Atlanta Braves, allowing five runs in five innings on eight hits. Freddie Freeman was able to tag Gee for a long home run in the second inning of last Saturday’s game. Gee has been successful against the Marlins in his career, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.84 ERA in six starts. Prado has 25 career at-bats against Gee, but has registered only five hits. Although Prado isn’t a superstar, if Gee can dominate one hitter in a lineup it could lead to success.

Friday’s Matchup:

RHP David Phelps (0-0, 36.00 ERA) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (2-0, 2.77 ERA)

This will be the first start Phelps will make with the Marlins this season. He has made two relief appearances and has given up a total of four runs in only one inning pitched. Phelps was acquired this offseason from the Mets’ crosstown rival, where he had a similar role, pitching primarily in relief, but making starts when necessary. Phelps has a career groundball rate of 42%, so his goal will be to get the Mets to pound the ball into ground.

Colon has been a very pleasant surprise early on this season for the Mets, winning each of his first two starts and looking good while doing it, well, as good as he can look. The key to Colon’s success has been his ability to throw strikes. An astounding 73% of his pitches have been within in the strike zone! I don’t worry about Colon throwing too many strikes and getting hit hard because his fastball has enough movement that it’s difficult for hitters to square up on it.

Saturday’s Matchup:

RHP Mat Latos (0-2, 17.36 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (1-1, 1.46 ERA)

Latos’ season has gotten of to a disastrous start so far, with him allowing nine earned runs in just over four innings in his first two starts. Latos currently has a WHIP of 3.42 to go along with 21.2 hits allowed per nine innings, aren’t early season stats fun?

The law of averages suggest that Latos is due for a good start after two atrocious ones; his 2.54 career ERA against the Mets would also back that up.

The reigning Rookie of the Year has picked up where he left off last season, putting together two solid starts to begin his first full season as a Met. deGrom has pitched 12.1 innings so far this year and has only allowed one run. I would like to see deGrom use his fastball to get strikeouts more effectively against the Marlins this weekend (only had 3 in his last start).

Sunday’s Matchup:

RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (2-0, 2.25 ERA)

Koehler has been an established member of the Marlins rotation for the last two seasons. Last September, Koehler had one of the best outings of his career against the Mets, pitching seven innings, allowing two runs and striking out 10 hitters. Koehler used his slider as an effective weapon to strikeout hitters and I anticipate he will try to do the same on Sunday.

Matt Harvey starts

Start Innings Runs Hits Strikeouts
April 9th 6 0 4 9
April 14th 6 3 5 8

 

Harvey has pitched well in his return from Tommy John surgery. The only issue he has had so far this season is the two home runs he allowed to Chase Utley and Cody Asche of the Phillies in his most recent start. Other than that, Harvey has been hard to hit. To anyone concerned about the strength of Harvey’s arm coming off the surgery, just look at his average velocity, which has been around 95 MPH in both starts.

Player to watch

Marlins:

Dee Gordon is doing everything he can to back up his 2014 all-star campaign. So far in 2015, Gordon has 14 hits in his first 37 at-bats and also has stolen six bases. Gordon’s speed is going to be a concern for Travis D’Arnaud, his league-leading 64 stolen bases last year proves that.

 Mets:

Eric Campbell got the start at third base in the wake of Wright’s injury in the last game. Campbelll went 1-5 with a single filling for the superstar and will likely be the guy while Wright is on the disabled list. In 263 at-bats last season, Campbell hit .263 with three home runs, so some production should expected.

A potent Marlins lineup could be a challenge for the Mets pitching staff to face. With talented hitters like Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich in the outfield alone, a difficult matchup will be created for every team they face. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also provides good a solid bat and good experience behind the plate.

The Marlins are a team that is trending in the right direction, However I don’t think they are going to be competitive in the NL East quite yet.

Max Gross is a Sports Media and Strategic Communications student at Oklahoma State University. Max is lifelong baseball fan and has been writing for three years and is excited to contribute to Mets Today. His favorite Mets memory is experiencing an improbable no-hit bid by Bartolo Colon in person. Max also writes about college baseball for CowboysRideForFree and can be followed on twitter @maxgross55.
  1. argonbunnies April 17, 2015 at 5:05 am
    That wasn’t the prettiest game, but wow, the Mets put together some GREAT clutch ABs. Campbell and Duda fought off a lot of excellent pitches from Ramos and Dunn, Lagares’s hit came on a good pitch, Cuddyer stepped it up a notch to make contact down in the count (though he was lucky Gordon didn’t get to his grounder, and luckier still on his swinging bunt for the Mets’ final run), and Flores finally didn’t miss when he got his pitch. Lagares kind of gave away his final AB of the night, but other than that, the Mets were in true battle mode from the 5th inning on. This was head and shoulders above any previous offensive performance — aside from the hanger to Wilmer, I thought the Marlins didn’t really pitch that badly!

    The only bad news was that Montero is already cracking from overuse. He pitched Tuesday, warmed up on Wednesday (he was coming in if Torres hadn’t settled down), and then on Thursday he had nothing. His 2-seamer was 88 instead of 92, his 4-seamer was 90 instead of 94, and he couldn’t get a slider anywhere near the plate. Shockingly (note: sarcasm), the theory that he’s simply “rubber armed” enough to go from starting two weeks ago to pitching 3 consecutive days now is UTTER NONSENSE.

    Not to mention that bringing him in was unnecessary; with the bases loaded, Carlyle was the better choice. I know that Buddy’s a 37-year-old retread and Montero’s been much hyped, but right this second the old guy is the more effective short reliever. Montero needs to get some big outs eventually, but let him work his way up there; we’re only 10 games in!

    • Joe Janish April 17, 2015 at 7:52 pm
      Overuse? I don’t think so. He’s been getting proper rest in between outings. The only big outing he had was the 40-pitch effort on April 10, after which he had three full days of rest before appearing again on the 14th, which is plenty (pitchers need only one day after 27-44 pitches). I don’t think Montero even pitched back to back days, much less three days in a row. His drop in velocity is a major concern, but I doubt it has anything to do with pitching out of the bullpen. If anything, his velocity should have increased. My guess is he is suffering pain and not telling anyone about it, and pitching as a starter will exacerbate the issue because MLB and minor leagues do NOT follow rest guidelines.
      • argonbunnies April 19, 2015 at 2:16 am
        April 14th, 15th, 16th = pitch, warm up to pitch, pitch.

        I suspect “pitchers need only one day after 27-44 pitches” refers to (a) a day without getting hot and (b) pitchers who are conditioned to pitch this way, not pitchers who are conditioned as starters.

  2. Bat April 17, 2015 at 8:08 am
    Last night two things happened in the following order:

    (1) Flores hit a three run jack; and
    (2) Janish was forced to eat a steaming pile of crow as he must now acknowledge that Flores is indeed the second coming of all of the best attributes of Ripken and Tulo, as well as other Hall of Fame and future Hall of Fame shortstops.

    Argon, I thought something similar to you when Montero was brought in: “Why is Collins again falling in love with one reliever? There are eight (!) relievers in the pen so does he really need to have Montero warm-up for the third consecutive night? Okay, he won’t use Familia in that situation, but he then has six other relievers available besides Montero and Familia.”

    There are people out there who defend Collins, but I think regardless of what they might say in other areas, I think his management of the bullpen is really inexcusable.

    • argonbunnies April 17, 2015 at 10:24 am
      I’ve already got my “Go with the Flo” 2035 Hall of Fame induction T-shirts printed.

      When it comes to pitcher availability, Collins takes his cues from Warthen, so I’d lay the health and overuse concerns on Dan.

      As far as strategy, I think there are a handful of managers who are good with reliever usage, and the rest are all like Collins or worse. Yeah, he frustrates me at times, but he also occasionally gives me a pleasant surprise, and that’s better than some guys out there. Without a single habitual multi-inning reliever in the game right now, the bar is pretty low, and the Mets’ ability to get 92 innings out of Torres last year certainly cleared it IMO.

    • Joe Janish April 17, 2015 at 7:37 pm
      HaHa, Bat — Yeah, I’m eating tons of crow now that Wilmer has established himself as an HoFer with that one swing of the bat. I’m surprised, though, that you didn’t mention the fact that he made ONLY 3 errors in his first dozen chances. He has a really good chance of his OPS being higher than his fielding percentage this year.

      I don’t know what MLB managers do, other than change pitchers. Everything else is pretty much following the plan set down by the front office, including the lineup (regardless of the wacky hijinks of the Don Rickles of MLB GMs, Sandy Alderson). Today, MLB managers are tasked with making sure they fill out the lineup card per the front office’s command, communicating with the players while they’re in the dugout/clubhouse, and doing three things on-field: choosing pinch-hitters, calling plays such as steals/bunts/hit-and-run, and making pitching changes.

      But then again, maybe they aren’t even tasked with the hitting and pitching substitutions — maybe the geniuses in the front office also make “recommendations” based on statistical matchups, and the managers is expected to follow those recommendations. Who’s in charge? Beats me.

  3. Bat April 18, 2015 at 9:14 am
    Yeah Joe, of course I was joking.

    Agreed that Flores hasn’t looked good so far with the bat or the glove.

    I still believe he can hit, but we’ll have to see what happens.

    • Bat April 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm
      Wil-mer Flor-es, dat, dat, dat, dat, dat.

      Wil-mer Flor-es, dat, dat, dat, dat, dat.

      I got a laugh today reading game recaps and box scores.

      Why? Janish brought up the fact that Flores has three errors. But Ian Desmond, who was apparently discussed as a trade possibility for the Mets in the offseason, has EIGHT ERRORS in 12 games!

      And apparently Desmond made an additional mental miscue in the game last night when he dropped a double play ball during the transfer, which as we all know can’t be charged as an error because he got one out on the play.

      Desmond seems to have a case of the yips.

      Meanwhile, in Flushing our own Wilmer Flores fielded his position flawlessly last night and hit his second home run in as many games. Hooray for Wilmer!

      • Bat April 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm
        Great, Flores has a homerun in each of his last two games and seems to be hitting the ball better after a slow start, yet Collins has Flores sit today in favor of Tejada.

        Maybe Collins is giving Flores a day game off since the Mets played a night game last night?

        Possibly, but if so, why isn’t TDA sitting? Usually the starting catcher gets a day off after a night game.

        From my vantage point, you rest TDA today even though he is hot, and you have some comfort in knowing that Duda, Flores. Campbell, etc. are serif the ball well and can pick up the slack missing when TDA’s hot bat is sitting.

  4. argonbunnies April 19, 2015 at 2:26 am
    This streak is a lot of fun! Yes, the Mets have been getting lots of lucky breaks, but I think they’ve also out-hit and out-pitched the Phillies and Marlins. Maybe by the time the luck runs out, Cuddyer will heat up and Murphy will start playing like a major leaguer.

    Pleasant surprises so far for me: Blevins’ dominance, Colon’s Ks, Duda’s line drives, Granderson’s patience and contact, Familia’s control, Campbell’s clutch hitting, and Buddy Carlyle duplicating what he did last year.

    • DaveSchneck April 19, 2015 at 10:27 pm
      Argon,
      Why did you need to use “lucky” and “breaks” not only in the same sentence but back to back, and with “Mets” in the same sentence? Don’t you know this really ruffles the baseball gods? Oh my, look what your words have done.

      In all seriousness, a few more injuries and they’ll need to get Backman up here as it will be Las Vegas East. Thirteen games in and things are very very interesting.

      • argonbunnies April 20, 2015 at 12:00 am
        Agh, my bad! Sorry! The baseball gods never let me have ANY nice things. 🙁