Mets – Marlins Quick Preview

The Mets and Marlins go at it for a three game set beginning today at 7:10 PM, a prelude to the Flushing Nine’s first encounter with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies this upcoming weekend.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: John Maine vs. Anibal Sanchez

Game 2: Livan Hernandez vs. Ricky Nolasco

Game 3: Johan Santana vs. Josh Johnson

The Fish lost two heartbreakers in the final innings to the Phillies on Friday and Saturday, then were blown out 13-2. In the Friday night contest, closer Matt Lindstrom allowed 7 runs on 3 walks and 4 hits (including 2 HRs) in two-thirds of the ninth inning en route to his second blown save of the season. They have lost six games in a row, but still lead the NL East by a slim margin. Their incompetence has miraculously allowed the stumbling Mets to gain in the standings over the last week (New York is now 3 games out of first, despite an 8-10 record).

In other words, the Marlins are down; it is up to the Mets to kick them or let them up.

The Mets are coming off a series win over the lowly Nationals, but are 2-5 over the last week. Their starting pitchers not named Santana have been awful and though 5 of the 8 starters in the lineup are batting .300 or better, their performance with runners in scoring position remains dismal. The lone bright spot is Carlos Beltran, who is absolutely unconscious at the plate — unfortunately, he’s also unconscious on the basepaths, as he’s been forgetting the NL allows sliding.

What will happen in the next few days is anybody’s guess. At the All-Star Break, we may look back at this series with the Marlins as a turning point, or defining moment, in the Mets’ season — good or bad.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.