The Marlins are set to kick off another road series today against the New York Mets. The Mets have been hot of late, winning 7 of their last 10 games and are currently tied for second in the N.L. East. This promises to be a good series to see if the Marlins are able to take the next step and secure some more victories on the road.
We were able to catch up with the editor for the Rising Apple, Daniel Abriano, who was gracious enough to answer some questions for us about the New York Mets and their solid start.
MM: The Mets have started the season 12-10 and won 7 of their last 10 games. What is going right?
Abriano: Their pitching has been fantastic. Over the last ten games, no Mets starting pitcher has allowed more than three runs in a game. Except for Jose Valverde (who has been replaced as closer by Kyle Farnsworth), the bullpen – especially Carlos Torres – has been fantastic for the better part of three weeks.
MM: The offseason acquisition of Curtis Granderson came with a lot of hype but he hasn’t been performing. How long will the fans be patient with him?
Abriano: The “fans” have already lost patience with Granderson. I put fans in quotations because there are two different types of fans. The first are the fair-weather ones who have already started booing Granderson at Citi Field. The second, are the die-hard fans who are disappointed but who realize that Granderson is due to improve. After an 0 for 22 slump, Granderson had a hit and a walk Wednesday night and singled as a pinch-hitter on Thursday. The problem for Granderson is that he’s been chasing pitches out of the zone. Once he corrects his approach, he should be fine.
MM: Matt Harvey was superb last year before his injury. What is the latest on his recovery?
Abriano: Matt Harvey recently passed the six month anniversary of his Tommy John surgery. He recently began long-tossing from 120 feet (up from 90 feet), and has been conducting his rehab in New York when the Mets are home and in Florida when the Mets are on the road. Harvey is aiming for a return in August or September, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was ready to return around that time.
MM: Would you preview the pitchers that the Marlins will face during this series?
Abriano: Zack Wheeler has been solid so far this season, but has given up some runs late in games that have inflated his ERA. He’s looked dominant at times, flashing a plus slider to go along with his tremendous fastball. Jenrry Mejia, who was tremendous in five starts for the Mets in 2013, has picked up right where he left off. His natural cutting fastball has been making hitters look foolish, and his secondary stuff has been fantastic. He has a 1.99 ERA thus far in 2014. Dillon Gee doesn’t have the pure stuff either Wheeler or Mejia has, but he’s been one of the most reliable pitchers in baseball since June of 2013 – working into the sixth inning in pretty much every one of his starts.
MM: Any bold predictions on how you see the series playing out?
Abriano: I don’t have any bold predictions for the series, but I have one for a player. I think this is the series where Curtis Granderson wakes up. He’s been having better at bats over the last few games, and seems to be on the cusp of breaking out.
There you have it. We want to thank Daniel for joining us, and make sure to go check out all of his excellent work at Rising Apple for all the latest Mets news heading into this important division series. Check back with us often as we will provide you with report cards of games and all the latest Marlins’ news and notes!