May 6, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes (7) against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Series Preview: Mets @ Marlins


About a week ago, the second match-up between the Mets and Marlins in Miami didn’t seem like it would create too much of a stir when they meet for a weekend series, but both of these teams are coming in hot right now. New York will make their first trip the the Marlins’ new park in downtown Miami, sporting a shiny, five-game winning streak. The Amazins are 6-4 in their last ten games and at 18-13, they are just about even with the Braves and Nationals for the division lead. On the other hand, the Marlins had a seven-game win streak of their own, and with an 8-2 record in their last ten games, they have finally gotten over .500 at 16-15, primed to continue making a run towards the top of the division.

How they’re performing:

Apr 24, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana throws a pitch during the game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

With their recent hot streaks, both of these teams are in much different places than they were just a couple weeks ago. Offensively, the Mets rank sixth in the MLB in both team batting average (.264) and team on-base percentage (.336). However, their sweep in Philadelphia helped them jump up four spots in the runs scored department, bringing their season total to 128 runs, averaging 4.12 runs per game. On the pitcher’s mound, New York’s 4.25 team ERA and 1.41 team WHIP are 25th worst in the MLB, but they continue to find ways to win with their late rallies.

On the other hand, the Marlins put themselves in a hole at the beginning of the season with their offense. Their .228 team batting average (27th), .299 on-base percentage (25th), and 111 runs scored (24th) are all among the worst in all Major League Baseball. However, despite averaging 3.58 runs per game, their pitching has been carrying them back over the .500 mark. Miami has put together a 3.16 team ERA, good for 3rd best in the league, and their 1.24 team WHIP is 9th best. So, it’s pretty clear that as their offense gets back on track, the pitching will make or break them.

Probable Pitching match-ups:

Fresh off of their second sweep of the year in Philadelphia, Terry Collins has to be feeling good about his pitching staff going into this series, especially since he’s got his ace kicking things off, with his other two most consistent starters following him to round out the probable pitchers for the Mets in this match-up.

Johan Santana (NYM) vs. Mark Buerhle (MIA)

R.A. Dickey (NYM) vs. Ricky Nolasco (MIA)

Jonathon Niese (NYM) vs. Carlos Zambrano (MIA)

However, Miami is not sending any slouches to the mound themselves. Josh Johnson won’t be appearing in this series, but Mark Buerhle is fresh off his first complete game since July 2010, Nolasco is known to pitch deep into games, and Zambrano is coming off a three-hit shutout himself, his first win in a that gorgeous, Miami uniform.

Recent Head-to-Head results:

We all know that the Marlins made their first trip to Citi Field this season a couple weeks ago on April 24th; it was headlined by Jose Reyes coming back to New York for the first time since he left the team as a free agent and signed with Miami. There was a video tribute for the former Mets shortstop, some cheers, lots of boos, and lots of wins for the Amazins. They completed their first sweep of

2012, outscoring Miami 10-4 in the three games, allowing their pitching staff to shine. On the other hand, the Marlins bullpen walked four straight Mets hitters on two different occasions, with the last one being done by former Met Heath Bell, sealing the sweep.

Last year, the two teams broke even in their 18 games against one another, winning 9 each. New York was only able to put together two wins in a row against Florida (at the time) for their longest winning streak against the Fish. However, they did win two games in a row on four different occasions in 2011. Either way, they’ve already surpassed that number after one series this season. New York’s pitching staff threw one shutout in those 18 match-ups, with the most common names popping up being R.A. Dickey (3-0 record) and Bobby Parnell (1-1 record, 3 saves).

For the Marlins, they were able to put together a four-game win streak between the end of July and August against the Mets and also shut them out once. The most common names to show up on the box score for Marlins pitchers were Javier Vazquez (2-1 record) and Juan Oviedo (1-0 record, 4 saves). These two two engaged in four extra inning affairs throughout the season, with the longest one being a 12-inning game in September, with the teams splitting those games as well with two wins a piece.

What to watch for:

The Santana-Buerhle match-up in the opener tonight is going to be a great chess match to watch. Santana is coming off a 108-pitch outing and six days of rest, looking to build upon his first start against the Fish (6.2 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 11 K’s). Buerhle got the loss in his first start against New York, but he didn’t deserve the loss (7 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 4 K’s). Terry Collins threw an anti-Cliff Lee lineup on the field Wednesday night, so we’ll see how he puts together his lineup against this left-hander.

If the Marlins go into the 9th inning with a lead, it will be interesting to see if Heath Bell can start to show he’s worth the $27 million investment the front office made in him. He hasn’t impressed much (0-3 record, 10.24 ERA, 2.69 WHIP, .381 opBA, 4 blown saves). With the Mets leading the league with 11 comeback wins, the game will be far from over when it gets into the last frame.

Let’s see if the New York offense can continue to roll; Ike Davis came to life in Philadelphia, and it will only be a matter of time to see if he’s finally out of his slump. Once him and Duda get on a roll, this offense could look very scary. Let’s go Mets!

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Tags: Ike Davis Johan Santana Jose Reyes Matt Musico Mets Marlins Miami Marlins New York Mets R.A. Dickey Rising Apple Series Preview Terry Collins