Mets vs. Marlins Series Preview: Miami Playoff Chances Slipping Away
By Chris Logel
Aug 27, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Miami Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez (37) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In years past, an under .500 record on September 1st could pretty much guarantee that you were out of the playoff hunt. With the addition of a second wild card this year, some teams are still thinking postseason, and the Marlins are one of them. Unfortunately, Miami has been heading the wrong way after going 2-4 during the last two series. The Marlins look to right the ship and finish the season strong against the New York Mets at Marlins Park.
With 27 games left, Miami is 6.5 games out of the last Wild Card spot. That is the bad news. The good news is that they only need to get around 4 teams currently ahead of them. That seems like a tall order with the likes of Pittsburgh, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Milwaukee occupying those spots. Realistically, 85 wins is going to be an absolute minimum mark to even think about making the playoffs. That puts the pressure on Miami to go 19-8 the rest of the way, and even then they will need those teams in front of them to falter.
While the playoffs may be little more than a pipe dream, this team has still been wildly successful when compared with preseason predictions. They have already won 5 more games than they did all of last year, and with 27 more to go, a 15-20 game increase is not out of the question, which would place them close to a .500 record on the year. That alone should have Marlins’ fans excited about next year.
If Miami wants to stay in this hunt, they will need to do something they haven’t done since early May to the Mets, sweep them. As a matter of fact, Miami has a 5-8 record against New York this season. The Marlins inability to put away lower level competition can explain their lack of playoffs this year. The Mets are just one more example of that. With 6 games remaining against the Mets, they have a chance to right the ship.
The series opener will take place at 1:10 PM today with Marlins all-star Henderson Alvarez going against Zack Wheeler. Wheeler is one of the excellent young arms that the Mets employ, and he has been dominant against the Marlins in his history. According to MLB.com his ERA is 1.04 and a WHIP of 0.89 in his last 5 starts against them. Miami will need to be patient against his breaking pitches if they want to prevent the strikeouts from piling up and the zero’s on the scoreboard.
The middle game will pit Jon Niese against the ghost of Brad Penny. I would say that Niese affords Miami with the best chance to win during this series, unfortunately Penny will have to hold the Mets offense down. Penny hasn’t started since August 14, and it is not a good sign that Miami is needs him to take the hill again. I don’t understand why we have all this young talent in the minors that we could use the experience and we are running out an elderly Brad Penny, but that is another column for another day. Fingers crossed that Penny can get us into the 5th inning and within striking distance in this one.
The rubber match will see Tom Koehler face off against rookie Jacob deGrom. Don’t think that because deGrom is a rookie, we should walk all over the Mets in this one. DeGrom has been sensational this season with a sub 3 ERA and over 100 strikeouts. Jacob is another starter with a bright future that Miami is likely going to have to contend with for the next few years. Koehler has been consistent of late and will need that consistency if the Marlins are going to compete with the Mets on Wednesday night.
I wish that I could say that we will sweep the Mets but I think a 2-1 series victory would be excellent, and a 1-2 series loss is more likely. What is your prediction for the Marlins in this series? Let us know in the comments below!