Series Preview: Miami Marlins @ New York Mets


The woes at home continue to pile on for the Mets, as they were swept by the Phillies last night, now sporting a 4-24 home record since the All-Star break; a skid that is reaching historic proportions. They have now lost five games in a row, and at 66-83, have already clinched their fourth straight losing season. Needless to say, it’s been a real tough stretch for players like David Wright and Ike Davis (who’s got some other things on his mind to worry about). However, we can still root for R.A. Dickey to get to 20 wins.

How the opposition is doing:

Meanwhile, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the Marlins coming down the stretch, but the Mets have made it a two-horse race to stay out of the NL East basement. They’ve lost six of their last 10 games, and with a season record of 66-84, Miami is by far one of the biggest disappointments of the 2012 season.

Justin Ruggiano (.315/.377/.538) has come out of nowhere to earn himself some playing time for Ozzie Guillen, as he’s played in 90 games and amassed 286 at-bats. What’s probably the biggest surprise is that prized off-season acquisition, Jose Reyes, leads the team with 148 games played. The Marlins must be pleased after signing him to that $106 million deal, not knowing if he could stay healthy all season. Jose has been the team’s most consistent performer, pacing the club in runs scored (81), doubles (35), triples (11), walks (58), and stolen bases (35). Giancarlo Stanton has the power categories under control, leading the team in home runs (34) and RBI (81).

Sept. 19, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes (7) reacts after striking out during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. The Braves won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

On the pitching side of things, Steve Cishek has seen more time as the team’s closer (14/18 save opportunities) due to the season-long struggles of Heath Bell. Mark Buehrle (13-12, 3.87 ERA) continues his consistent play to lead the starting staff that has underachieved this season. Buehrle leads the staff in wins (13) and innings pitched (188.1), but Ricky Nolasco‘s 12 wins makes him the only other pitcher with double-digit wins, and Josh Johnson has struck out the most (158).

Probable pitching match-ups:

Jacob Turner (2-3, 5.20 ERA) vs. Jonathon Niese (11-9, 3.45 ERA)

While he’s a new face in the crowd, Jacob Turner is hoping to make a name for himself. Throwing 7 shutout innings and only allowing 2 hits to the Cincinnati Reds in his last start is a way to make that happen. Turner will be looking to build upon the longest outing of his MLB career, and being on the road will be a great way for him to keep his momentum going; even though he hasn’t won a game away from Marlins Park, he owns a 3.75 ERA and 0.75 WHIP on the road. Jonathon Niese will be looking to give himself a new career high for wins in a season with this outing, as his 177 innings pitched this season are already a new career-high.

Mark Buehrle (13-12, 3.78 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (18-6, 2.67 ERA)

The Marlins’ southpaw looks to be a lock to get to the 200 innings pitched plateau for the 12th straight year, especially since he went 7.2 innings in his last start, his longest since the day after Independence Day. After three September starts, he’s enduring the worst month of his season, going 1-1 with a 4.98 ERA so far, but still sporting an impressive 0.97 WHIP. So, not many hitters are reaching base, but the ones that do, score. On the other hand, Dickey will be trying to get win #19 for the third time, now being lined up for two more starts at Citi this season, including tomorrow. He’s been able to get deep into games, as he’s thrown 7 innings his last two times to the mound, but with an 8.10 ERA and .321 opponent batting average in late/close situations, it’s been hard to win games of late, especially when the offense is giving no run support.

Ricky Nolasco (12-12, 4.42 ERA) vs. Chris Young (4-8, 4.37 ERA)

Despite giving up 10 hits and 3 runs in 5 innings during his last start, Nolasco is enjoying one of his more productive stretches of the year, throwing two complete game shutouts since August 28th. His biggest issue is closing out innings, as his ERA in each situation increases. With no outs, it’s a respectable 3.02; with one out, it jumps to 4.57; with two outs, it continues to increase up to 5.91. Chris Young is hoping to find the magic against Miami, as they are the last team he beat back on September 2nd. Even though he has a better ERA and WHIP at home (4.25, 1.22) than on the road (4.45, 1.47), Young has gone winless at home, as he currently sits at 0-4.

The Mets currently hold the advantage for the season series with an 8-4 record through 12 games. The match-ups have become more even as the season progressed, with the run differential at +6, in favor of the Mets. New York has gone 4-2 against the Fish at home and on the road, so they’re looking for more of the same, as they have this series at Citi Field and one more at Marlins Park left. Let’s go Mets!