Tonight, the Mets begin a three-game series with the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.. First pitch is at 7:10 tonight.The Marlins come into this series a completely different team than we saw in the first few months of this season. They have dealt high-profile players such as Anibal Sanchez , Hanley Ramirez, and Omar Infante in an attempt to shake things up and make a playoff run.The Marlins have faded in a major way over the past few months. Coming into action on June 1, the Marlins were 29-22 and just a half game behind the Nationals for first place. Now, they sit at an abysmal 49-60 with little to no playoff hopes. Jose Reyes, who they signed last year to energize the offense, has not lived up to the MVP-like expectations the Marlins set for him with when they signed him to a $106 million contract. Sure, he has stolen a few bases and hit a few triples, but the spark that he once gave the Mets isn't there for the Marlins anymore.The Marlins as an offense overall haven't been spectacular either. In fact, they have been one of the worst in baseball. They rank 29th in baseball in runs, 24th in on-base percentage, and 24th in slugging percentage. While there pitching, more specifically their starting pitching, has been decent, they have not lived up to the expectations that a team with so many stars has.Speaking of the starting rotation, they have suffered a bit after losing Anibal Sanchez in a trade to the Tigers. He was a solid, consistent pitcher, who will now be replaced by the rookie they got from the Dodgers, Nathan Eovaldi.The one area we haven't covered yet is the bullpen. The Marlin bullpen is 21st in baseball in ERA. Heath Bell has been removed from the closer role and has shown few signs of improvement. The only bright spot there has been Steve Cishek, who has taken over as the closer for Miami. He has a 1.77 ERA in 45.2 innings this year.While the Marlins have struggled, so have the Mets. Despite Miami being a bad team, we saw what bad teams like the Padres did to the Mets on this past west coast swing. Hopefully, the Mets can prove they're the better team and win some games.
Pitching Matchups:Game 1- Tonight 7:10Jonathon Niese
(130.2 IP, 8-5, 103 ERA+, 7.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.17 WHIP)vs.Wade LeBlanc
,1-1, 306 ERA+, 5.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.00 WHIP) Game 2- Wednesday 7:10Chris Young
(64 IP, 3-5, 91 ERA+, 5.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.28 WHIP)vs.Nathan Eovaldi (63.2 IP, 2-7, 83 ERA+, 5.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.55 WHIP)Game 3- Thursday 12:10R.A. Dickey
(153.1 IP, 14-3, 136 ERA+, 9.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.03 WHIP)vs.Josh Johnson
(133.1 IP, 7-7, 106 ERA+, 8.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.29 WHIP)
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- David Wright has cooled off considerably since his first-half tear. Since July 1, David is batting .252 with seven home runs.
- While David has struggled, Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada have both taken off. Murphy is hitting .369 since July 1 and Tejada is hitting .338.
- After posting a 6.49 ERA over his first five starts in the month of July, R.A. Dickey has bounced back. On July 29 in Arizona, he went seven innings and allowed only one run on four hits. His last time out against San Diego, he went seven strong and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits.
- Remember the talk recently about Josh Thole not being the future at catcher for the Mets? Well, he's proven recently that the job shouldn't be his. Thole doesn't have much power and his defensive skills are only so-so. What has kept him in the majors is the potential to hit close to .300 at the plate. Well, Thole is only hitting .258 this season and is in the middle of a big slump right now. Over his last 15 games, Thole is hitting just .190 with a .277 on-base percentage and .286 slugging percentage.
- One of the few bright spots for the Marlins recently has been Carlos Lee. Lee is hitting .305 overall since being dealt to Miami early last month and is hitting .452 over his last ten games. He has also drawn walks at a much higher rate. His on-base percentage is about 70 points higher with the Marlins than it was in Houston. Maybe the change of scenery really was what Lee needed.
- Nathan Eovaldi, who I'm sure you remember from the two series against the Dodgers, was acquired by Miami in the Hanley Ramirez deal. Him and another prospect were dealt by the Dodgers for Ramirez and Randy Choate last month. While Eovaldi doesn't have prospect status anymore, he was rated the 96th best prospect in baseball before the year by Baseball America.
- Josh Johnson has not been himself this season. While he is still a quality pitcher, he doesn't have the edge that he used to. Johnson's ERA+ this year is 106, which is the worst for Johnson in any season in which he has pitched more than 50 innings.
- Let's Go Mets!