The Mets aren't the most miserable team in the NL East right now

One team is out uglying the Mets in the NL East right now.

Los Angeles Angels v Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Angels v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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You think we have it bad? Look down the division. Despite the 0-4 start to the New York Mets season, the team has a stranglehold on fourth place in the division. Over the weekend, the Miami Marlins lost four games at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’ve dropped another two against the laughably bad Los Angeles Angels to begin this week.

The ultimate overachievers from last season who squeaked into the playoffs with a -66 run differential (the Mets were -12 for whatever that’s worth), reality has set in for the 2024 Marlins. You can’t depend on winning one-run games as they did last year and expect it to work forever.

How bad are the NL East rival Marlins right now?

A spin on the Mets season: they have yet to play a team with a loss. Granted, this is partly because they’ve been losing a lot. The Milwaukee Brewers were winners in their one game since coming to New York. We know the Detroit Tigers haven’t had a chance to add a loss to their season after their opening weekend sweep of the Chicago White Sox and a 1 for 1 opportunity to win against the Mets.

The Marlins, meanwhile, have faced off against arguably inferior ball clubs. The Pirates remain 5-0, however, playing no one but the Marlins and now one against the Washington Nationals will help there.

Many of the same problems plaguing the Marlins last year exist now. Although they rank 13th in runs scored, the team has the advantage of playing more games than most ball clubs. A 24th ranked OPS, 23rd ranking in home runs in MLB is more telling of where the club is.

Their pride, starting pitching, hasn’t been good either. In the absence of several pitchers, they’ve settled for some of the best strikeout rates in the game per 9 but the worst walk ratio. For all of the drama surrounding the Mets, there isn’t a major pitching statistic for starters or relievers where they rank worse than 20th (WHIP and hits per 9 are the two). The Mets actually have the 13th best starting pitcher ERA and the relievers have the sixth-best ERA. The issue in Queens is offense where the Marlins have been superior in comparison.

All of the signs of dread are there for the Marlins right now. Prized trade candidate Jesus Luzardo hasn’t been superb. A.J. Puk, who was pretty excellent as a reliever last year, got lit up in his first start after transitioning to the rotation. The payoff from the J.T. Realmuto trade with the Philadelphia Phillies from years ago may never come with Sixto Sanchez finally pitching in the big leagues and failing to even strike out a batter through his first 3 innings as a reliever no less.

Without even watching a Marlins game yet this year, it’s easy to see where some of the issues could lie. Four of their five starters are lefties. The Fish can’t get to Citi Field fast enough to give Harrison Bader and Tyrone Taylor something to do. All five of their current starters, plus a few more on the IL, are all under 30 which makes for a fascinating situation if the group ever did find consistency in the big leagues. They have the danger potential without the voltage.

An amazing thing happened with the 2015 Mets. Multiple young pitchers were in the infancy of their careers and pitching at their best. Then there were those years where the young arms weren’t so great. It seems like the Marlins might be in one of those situations.

The lineup isn’t so horrific on paper and the offense should help them win a few games. But by gawd, we may be about to enter another year where the NL East is a two-horse race with a bunch of scrubs at the bottom.

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