I fully expected to go into this series against the Marlins feeling confident after taking 2 of 3 from the Phillies over the weekend. Well that didn’t happen at all, and now I’m frightened by the invasion of the fish. They just split a weekend series against the Nationals in Washington. One game of the three game set was rained out. That’s a hell of a lot better than dropping a series to the Phillies at home. But they are still 1-3 because they lost two games to the Tigers to start the year. We get to face their top arm as well and lose Jacob deGrom on Wednesday due to his lat soreness. The Marlins big bats are off to a hot start. Dee Gordon starting right where he left off last season hitting .421 so far. Christian Yelich and Martin Prado have been raking as well. And Giancarlo Stanton is always a monster.
Game 1: Jarred Cosart vs. Steven Matz
Cosart had 3 starts against the Mets in 2015 with 3 no decisions. One was a brilliant 8 inning 2 hitter in Miami against our punchless lineup in April. In the other two starts he went 5.1 and 4.2 innings and didn’t fare as well. Asdrubal Cabrera is 3 for 9 against him in his career, Yoenis Cespedes is 2 for 6 with a dinger, Michael Conforto is 2 for 2, Lucas Duda is 2 for 6, Wilmer Flores is 4 for 10 with a dinger, and Juan Lagares is 3 for 7. Matz faced the Marlins once in Miami in September last year. He went 5.1 innings and gave up 2 runs. We could really use a big time start from our fourth ace tomorrow. We need to get off to a good start in this series and stop this brief skid. I guess that’s why it pays to have all these stoppers in the rotation.
Game 2: Jose Fernandez vs. Noah Syndergaard
In his first start of the 2016 season, Fernandez got roughed up a little bit by Detroit giving up 5 runs over 5 innings, but he struck out 13. The Mets don’t have a lot of career plate appearances against Fernandez because of all the time he’s missed recovering from his Tommy John surgery. In fact, we didn’t face him in 2014 or 2015. But he’s a beast, and he’s back to throwing 98 MPH. Thor dominated in his first start against KC. He never faced the Marlins during his rookie 2015 campaign. Thor vs. Fernandez is going to be must see TV assuming it doesn’t get rained out.
Game 3: Adam Conley vs. Logan Verrett
We were originally supposed to face Wei-Yin Chen in this game, but he was struck in the elbow by a liner on Opening Day against the Tigers. So his start is supposedly being pushed back. Since Conley is a lefty, I’m guessing we’ll see Lagares in this game and possibly Flores. Hopefully we don’t have to see Eric Campbell. Conley started against us once in September last year. He pitched 7 shutout innings in New York and got the win. Logan Verrett pitched 5 innings and gave up a run against the Marlins in September last year when we were conserving the innings of our big dogs. Hopefully he can come out of our pen and step up for Jacob deGrom. He doesn’t project as a frontline starter, but it’s nice to have guys like Verrett, Sean Gilmartin, Robert Gsellman, and Rafael Montero who can step up in a pinch with a start. As we all know, our pitching depth is our strength.
Things To Look For:
Offense: Umm maybe we should start hitting. I will certainly be looking for more offense. I think everyone will be looking for our offense. I know it’s cold, but I believe it was a French philosopher who once said “I hit, therefore I win.” Regarding the cold weather this weekend Cespedes said, “This is not a time to be playing baseball. It’s a time to be home sleeping.” While I’m totally a believer in winter hibernation, I definitely think Cespedes better get used to the weather pretty quickly. After all, October tends to be pretty damn chilly.
The Pen Is Mightier Than Expected: Until Sunday, the Mets pen hadn’t given up an earned run. Jim Henderson has looked great. They’ve all seemingly shaken off their spring rust and started strong. Will it continue? Is it sustainable? We shall see.
Grandyman MIA: After being our MVP in 2015, Curtis Granderson has been MIA in the leadoff spot to start the season. He’s a career .238 hitter in April, so I guess you could call him a slow starter. It’s not going to be easy getting things going against Jose Fernandez and then the lefty Conley on Wednesday. But we need him. He was our constant on offense in 2015. He’s our table setter. Let’s hope his boy hitting coach Kevin Long gives him some good advice before the series starts. That is assuming Long isn’t too busy chasing Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds for an autograph.