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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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.
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.