Miami Marlins (12-15, 2nd Place NL East, 6.5 GB) at
New York Mets (12-15, 2nd Place, NL East, 6.5 GB)
The Marlins come to Citi Field for the second time this season to close out the Mets’ start of the season exclusively against the East Division. Both teams come in looking for a sweep that would get them back to the .500 mark, and keep pace with the Nationals.
The Mets come in having won the last 2 series, taking 2 out of 3 against the Nationals, and 2 out of 3 in a rain-shortened series in Atlanta. The Marlins come in on a cold streak, where they have only won 2 out of the last 9, including dropping 3 of 4 to the cross-state Tamp Bay Rays.
The good news for the Mets is that the panic level did not seem to go any further backwards, having been able to stay 6.5 games out of first, but able to climb out of the basement. Technically, the Mets are in 2nd place, tied with Miami and Philadelphia, so that fact could be a slight psychological boost.
On the injury front, Wilmer Flores has returned, but Travis d’Arnaud suffered a wrist injury earlier this week, and has missed a few games. There were early reports that Yoenis Cespedes could return when eligible on Monday, but it seems he suffered a setback, and will be out longer than hoped. Noah Syndergaard received a second opinion on his Lat injury, and it was revealed that it was a simple muscle tear. He is still facing numerous weeks on the DL, but hope rises that he could be back in 2 months as opposed to closer to 3.
Miami starter Edinson Volquez will miss his turn in the rotation this weekend to deal with a blister on his thumb.
Another thing to keep an eye on this weekend is the weather. There is rain in the forecast all weekend. The bad news about the game in Atlanta being called in the 4th is that you wasted a starter in the rotation, but the good news is that the bullpen gets a rest for a night. The same scenario could play out this weekend in New York.
Here are the pitching matchups this weekend (once again, subject to change):
Koehler comes in having giving up 11 Earned Runs in his last 3 starts, indicative of Miami’s struggles. Montero takes Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation this time around after starting the year in the bullpen. In 3 starts in 2016, Montero was 0-1, but had a 2.05 ERA between his starts and relief appearances.
Chen is 1-1 against the Mets this year, but has been 2 different pitchers. He allowed just 1 Earned Run in 6 innings on April 7, but was tagged for 6 Earned Runs in just 3 innings on the 13th. Gsellman has allowed at least 3 Earned Runs in his last 5 starts, but was able to get credit for the win against Atlanta in his last outing.
After going 3-6 in 18 starts last season, Nicolino makes his first start of 2017, replacing Volquez. Harvey allowed 6 Earned runs in his last 2 starts in 9.2 innings pitched. The 12 Earned Runs combined is a career high for him.
Once the Marlins series is over, the Mets will get to see what the rest of the leagues is like, starting with a rematch of last year’s Wild Card game with a series against the San Francisco Giants.