Series Preview: Mets vs. Marlins II

Florida Marlins baseball logoNow we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of the season — the “stretch run” at the end of the season when it’s time to “turn it on”. We’ve been deluded into thinking that games in April, May, and June are not nearly as important as August and September, which of course is ludicrous. Nevertheless, if that’s the message Willie Randolph and co. want to send, we’ll oblige by buying into the concept and expect the Mets to suddenly become a wrecking crew, inflicting their wrath on their National League East rivals from this point forward.

In other words, we want sweeps. Get out the broom and whisk away the Marlins, the Nationals, and the Phillies, please. Part one starts today (weather permitting).

Game One: Brian Lawrence vs. Scott Olsen

If it were truly Lawrence vs. Olsen, such as in a caged fight to determine the ultimate warrior, I’d put my money on the fists of Olsen. However, since it’s a baseball game, and it doesn’t take much to break Olsen’s concentration, I’m liking the Mets chances.

Though the big lefty has superior stuff, his two-cent head and previous poor outings versus the Mets go against him. The Mets need to get to him early, or do something to get under his skin, and the ballgame is theirs. The longer they allow him to remain in the game, and confident, the more dominant his 93-MPH fastball, biting slider, and fair change-up will be.

Game Two: Tom Glavine vs. Daniel Barone

Two things have me worried about this one. First, the denouement / crescendo following the historical 300th win may cause Glavine’s guard to go down. Then again, the pressure off, his routine back to normal, could be a godsend. The second concern is the fact that Barone is making his Major League debut, and we all know that means the Wandy Rodriguez Effect comes into play. Independent of all outside influences, Glavine should enjoy teasing Florida’s young and aggressive hitters — assuming they’re still about as smart as a box of rocks.

Game Three: Oliver Perez vs. Rick VandenHurk

Ollie, like John Maine, needs to get back on track ASAP. This would be a fine time to get back in the saddle. At the same time, he shouldn’t have to worry about giving up five runs, as the Mets really should pound the bejesus out of VandenHurk, as they did the last time they faced him, and as every other NL team has this season — his ERA is 7.49. This is the “gimme” game, and the Mets better take what’s been given.


… should not come into play as a factor. The Mets’ starters should keep the Marlins at bay (pardon the pun) until the offense has established a lead no one this side of Scott Schoeneweis can blow. Lawrence may need help, but Glavine and Perez should go 7-8 innings in their outings. The Marlins have very little in the way of firefighters — unless you’re talking about the firemen of Fahrenheit 451 — and therefore the Mets’ batters should feast on their offerings. If Willie needs to play the shell game with his setup men in this series, the Mets are in deep doo doo.

Mets Bats

David Wright is still fairly hot, and Moises Alou is swinging a good stick when he’s not grounding into double plays, but at this point it shouldn’t matter who’s hot and who’s not. Against the Marlins’ pitching — which won’t include D-Train nor Sergio Mitre — the Mets must score early and often. Anything less than six runs per game will be a disappointment and travesty.

Marlins Bats

Hanley Ramirez is arguably a more impactful all-around offensive force than Jose Reyes this year. If only he’d wear his cap on straight someone might pay attention to him. Miguel Cabrera remains the best young slugger this side of Albert Pujols. After that there is a tremendous dropoff, as the next-best threats are sluggers Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham, who do a lot of swinging and missing.

Bottom Line

The Mets really need to sweep. It’s clear they can’t match up, head to head, with the Braves, and are a crapshoot against similarly talented teams. Therefore, they must beat up on the lesser teams, and beat up on them good. The Marlins are currently sharing the basement with the Nationals, eleven and a half games back. If the Mets can win the first two of this series, the third is in the bag. It’s time to bury the bottom-feeders of the division.

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.
  1. Micalpalyn August 10, 2007 at 5:30 pm
    Last year the Mets fizzled in late August BADLY. I think that’s why they seem to be so pedestrian.

    We have not seen the real Mets yet. You and I have talked about rest. Now Beltran is rested.

    What I dont understand is Willie: Why pencil in Marlon yesterday? Why not Ruben (day game after night) Why not call up Ahern and spot Reyes?

  2. joe August 10, 2007 at 6:37 pm
    Maybe the Mets saw how crappy the Cardinals were last year, then got hot at the right time, and decided to try the same thing this year. I imagine they have the “ON” switch behind glass, and not yet ready to tap it with the hammer (hmm … article idea brewing?)

    It would be nice if something resembling Carlos Beltran would show up soon.

    You can’t understand Willie because you don’t understand “hunches”. He had a hunch. It didn’t work. You still think Nostradamus was a brilliant predictor of the future, don’t you, even though several hundred thousands of his predictions didn’t occur? Right?

    No need to promote AHern and waste a space on the bench. If Reyes is to be rested, Gotay can play SS for a night. He’s no worse there than Marlon in CF, Green in RF or Delgado at 1B — and despite their public concern about defense, Willie and Omar really care only about the sticks. You can’t score runs on defense, right?

  3. isuzudude August 10, 2007 at 9:02 pm
    You know, Mic, I’d like to find a time when I actually agree with you on something, but what in the world are you talking about this time?

    1. What does last year’s August have to do with this year’s August? If the Mets struggled last year at this time does that makes them automatically inclined to repeat history?

    2. Joe took you at your word that the Mets “fizzled” last August. Fortunately, I didn’t fall into the same trap. August of 2006, the Mets were 19-9, had winning streaks of 5 and 7, and even began September winning 5 of 7 (including a DH sweep of the Braves which I went to). I hardly call that fizzling.

    3. Calling the team pedestrian? No one complained when the Mets went 4-2 against the top two teams of the NL Central on the road, yet they come back to Shea and 2 out of 3 to a hot Atlanta team and now they’re destined to start a landslide of losses. So does that mean a 3 game sweep of Florida puts them automatically into the World Series by those standards?

    4. We have not yet seen the real Mets. Does that mean Gotay REALLY is a .350 hitter? Does that mean Wagner REALLY will continue saving every game he enters? Does that mean Sosa has REALLY pitched like a 7 win pitcher? I know the point you’re getting at (Beltran, Alou, Chavez, Pedro have all been hurt, Delgado should be better than .250, etc) but realize that the Mets have had a lot of pleasant surprises this season as well.

    5. What’s wrong with playing Marlon in a day game after night game against a tough RHP Milledge might struggle against? He did wind up with a hit in his lone at-bat before getting hurt, and for all we know he could have good career numbers vs hudson. (I tried to check myself but my computer is a POS and freezes when I click on Yahoo’s batter vs pitcher page.)

    6. Drop the obsession with Anderson Hernandez already. He’s a bum.

  4. Micalpalyn August 11, 2007 at 10:33 am
    ‘and now they’re destined to start a landslide of losses’.

    this statement speaks to my discussion point: while not quantitating, since you might understand my pint..These Mets dont have long winning OR losing streaks.

    My point in the marlon discussion is, I advocate a more rotation based line up ala BV. Its just that simple.