Mets @ Marlins Series Preview

Both the Mets and Marlins probably wish they could play American League teams for the rest of the season. Over the last 10 games, both teams have been playing well, and while neither are a threat to climb up the National League East standings, both teams have to be encouraged for now. Both teams got to feast on the Texas Rangers.

Florida has abandoned their running game for the most part after the firing of Jeff Torborg, and they won't run as willy-nilly as they have in the past now that Piazza isn't catching. Juan Pierre continues to be the team leader in stolen bases, but Luis Castillo has continued his excellent work with the bat and on the basepaths.

The Mets seem to have been energized by both the firing of Steve Phillips and the call-up of Jose Reyes, who hit his first home run in the major leagues on Sunday. The fact that it was a grand slam was icing on the cake for him. Jeromy Burnitz has been hitting, and they have gotten decent pitching for the most part.

This is a four-game set and the Mets will find out if it was the sub-par American League pitching or whether they might actually play some form of competitive baseball this season. If they revert to their old ways, there could be trades by the week's end or next week at the latest.

Without further ado, the pitching matchups between these two cellar-dwellers:

Game One: Tom Glavine vs. Dontrell Willis

This will be Glavine's first start back after missing a couple of turns in the rotation with his elbow problems. How he will fare is anyone's guess. He could struggle and make either Jason Phillips or Vance Wilson almost blow out their arms trying to throw out Marlin basestealers or he could submit a vintage Glavine outing. Willis has been one of the highlights of the Marlins staff, having a 5-1 record and averaging 8 strikeouts per outing.

Game Two: Al Leiter vs. Carl Pavano

Poor Pavano. First he was heralded as one of the best Red Sox pitching prospects, and then he was part of the Pedro Martinez trade. Then he gave up Mark McGwire's 70th home run. He must have breathed a sigh of relief when Barry Bonds eclipsed the home run record in 2001. He hasn't lived up to his potential, and has been a baseball nomad. He hasn't found his baseball home in FL, sporting a 5-7 record and an E.R.A. of 4.53. Al Leiter will try to find his ace form again in his start, as hitters aren't finding their bats sawed off with his cutter this season.

Game Three: Jason Roach vs. Brad Penny

For a while, the Marlins thought that they had a devastating threesome in Penny, Ryan Dempster and A.J. Burnett. But like the Mets "Generation K" of Bill Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson, they have crumbled so far under the pressure, with Dempster having been traded, Burnett blowing out his arm and Penny still trying to figure out the difference between a thrower and a pitcher. He's still a thrower. Roach will be trying to regain his confidence after the spanking that the Angels gave him in his major league debut. Since it's usually pretty quiet during Marlins games, he should be able to keep his focus.

Game Four: Jae Seo Vs. Tommy Phelps

After a couple of rocky outings in the beginning of the season, Seo has been a model of consistent pitching. He's always around the strike zone, and while he does give up the occasional longball, he's keeping his focus a lot better on the mound. Phelps got raked his last outing, not making it out of the third inning, giving up six runs in that inning and not even recording an out. Cliff Floyd, Reyes and Burnitz must be licking their chops.

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