Series Preview: NL Least Rumble In Miami

The Mets went 14-15 in the month of May and the Marlins went 15-14. What does that mean? It means the NL Least is back. Frankly, it never left. East is the name and mediocrity is the game. The NL East rodeo of mediocrity also means that a rough series or stretch can flip flop the standing in a finger snap. So this road series is important. The Marlins are 6-4 in their last 10 games. Last weekend they lost 2 out of 3 in Atlanta, but this week they came home and took 3 out of 4 against the Pirates. In other words, the Marlins are somewhat hot and the Mets are not.  The Mets lost 4 out of 6 on the homestand. Everyone is hurt. But if the mafia has taught us anything, it’s that a good old fashioned trip to Miami can be a great way to unwind and escape the heat of the New York microscope.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Noah Syndergaard vs. Tom Koehler

Tom Koehler hasn’t faced the Mets yet this year. He’s 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. He gave up 8 runs in 2.1 innings against the Brewers on May 1st. That really inflated his ERA. He’s gone 5+ innings and surrendered 3 or fewer runs in all 5 starts since that outing. The Mets faced him 5 times in 2015. He tossed two quality starts in those games, and in the other three he got rocked and failed to make it to the fifth inning. Notable Matchups: Yoenis Cespedes is 3 for 8, Michael Conforto is 2 for 7, Wilmer Flores is 3 for 11, Curtis Granderson is 5 for 22, and Juan Lagares is 6 for 23.

There’s not much to preview when it comes to Noah Syndergaard. He’s pitching like a Cy Young candidate. In April he faced the Marlins at Citi Field. He went 7 innings, gave up 1 run, and struck out 12. He got a no decision in that game, and we ended up losing 2-1. It was one of the most demoralizing losses of the season, and that’s saying a lot considering how bad the two losses were against the White Sox this week. In that April game, the Mets couldn’t score with their “fully loaded” lineup. With the way our offense is sputtering, Thor will probably pitch nine scoreless innings and get the L. That is unless Thor decides to throw at people again and gets tossed from the game.

Game 2: Bartolo Colon vs. Justin Nicolino

Bartolo Colon has not faced Miami in 2016, but he faced them six times in 2015. He went 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA. I’m confident Big Sexy will fire a quality start. Justin Nicolino is a left hander who faced the Mets once in September of 2015. He went 6 innings, gave up 3 runs, and Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run off of him. He’s only made 3 starts on the season and he’s 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA. He replaced Jarred Cosart in the Marlins rotation. The Mets haven’t hit lefties all season and aren’t hitting any pitchers lately. So this could be trouble.

Game 3: Matt Harvey vs. Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez is 8-2 with a 2.53 ERA in the season. He’s been on the same level as Thor, Clayton Kershaw, and Jake Arrieta in 2016. In fact he matched Thor inning for inning in that April start I mentioned above. In his start on Tuesday he went 7 scoreless innings, gave up 3 hits and struck out 6 without a walk. Fernandez has won seven straight starts, and in his last five starts he is 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA. Matt Harvey finally had a breakout start against the White Sox on Memorial Day. He went 7 scoreless innings, gave up 2 hits, and struck out 6. I’d be confident in Harvey if he hadn’t struggled so much before his most recent start. That combined with the fact that Jose Fernandez has been unbeatable at home makes this a tough matchup.

Things To Look For:

Hot Marlins: Marcell Ozuna has been crushing it all season long. He’s hitting .328 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. Martin Prado is hitting .323 on the season. Christian Yelich is hitting .313 with 5 home runs on the season. J.T. Realmuto is hitting .299 on the season.

Giancarlo: Giancarlo Stanton will be back in the lineup this weekend. He missed 7 games recently due to injury. He’s hit 12 homers and 26 RBIs on the season, but he’s hitting .210. He’s struggling. He’s battled injuries which is pretty much par for the course. I’m sure he’ll be back to launching dingers against the Mets this weekend.

Grandy Yay: Curtis Granderson has been hitting lately. He’s hitting .286 in his last 7 games and making some good hard contact.

No Bark From Big Dogs: On the flip side, Michael Conforto is 1 for his last 15 and Yoenis Cespedes is 1 for his last 19. Half of our regulars are out with back problems, but it seems like Yo and Conforto have finally started to fizzle after carrying the team on their backs all season.

Rene Gonna Play: I wonder if Terry will start Rene Rivera twice in this series. Rivera has been nailing base stealers non-stop and calling great games lately. Rivera and Lagares are seemingly our only above average defenders.

David’s Gone: David Wright will officially go on the DL before this series. They said he’s out 4-6 weeks. Hopefully that’s not 4-6 weeks in “d’Arnaud years”. The team literally said “extended absence”. That actually means out forever. Matt Reynolds will take his place on the roster. I’m surprised they promoted Reynolds again because the Mets originally planned to promote relatively unknown minor league infielder Rick Canball. The Mets like his “exceptional contact rate” and “versatility”.

Excelled In His Role: In a post full of negativity, I’d like to take a moment and praise Juan Lagares. Juan has been exceptional so far this season hitting .280/.322/.415 in 88 PA. But this is a reminder. Don’t be fooled when they say things on TV like, “Juan Lagares is having a great season. It’s a shame that he needs to battle for playing time on this team. He’s wasting away on the bench.” Nope. That’s BS. He’s excelling this season because he’s on the bench. He’s finally in the right role. Good for him.

Pen Out Of Ink: Hansel Robles, Jeurys Familia, and the rest of the pen have struggled the last couple weeks after a burning hot start to the season. Let’s hope the Miami sun helps them regain some fire.

Bahamas: The papers ran a headline today talking about how Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and a few other Mets took a day trip to the Bahamas before this series against the Marlins. The paper was trying to stir the pot once again asking what these guys were doing in the Bahamas and particularly what Thor was doing there the day before a start. Umm they’re probably swimming. Maybe drinking. Maybe they went to buy chachkies at the airport. Who the hell cares? I’m hoping they all went to recruit some famous Bahamian slugger. We need that most of all. We should be searching far and wide for a solution on offense.

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