Miami Marlins Game Preview: Game 20 vs. New York Mets

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Despite being just about everyone’s preseason National League East favorites, the Washington Nationals couldn’t etch out a single win this weekend in Miami, and were swept in three games by the red-hot Marlins. The Fish are winners of five straight and have clawed back to within three games of .500.

Tonight at 7:10 PM, they play host to the New York Mets, who sit in first place in the division with a 14-5 record. Last week they saw a franchise record 11-game winning streak snapped, and they dropped two of the three to the New York Yankees in this weekend’s Subway Series. The Mets come to town for a three-game set, finally appearing vulnerable, and the Marlins will look to avenge last weekend’s embarrassing four-game sweep at Citi Field.

The Marlins couldn’t score runs the first two weeks of the season, but in this five game streak the offense has drastically turned it around. They plated 17 runs in the Washington series, which included an 8-0 drubbing on Saturday night and a 6-2 win on Sunday in which the team clubbed three triples. Dee Gordon leads the National League with 30 hits, and Adeiny Hechavarria (16-for-35 in his last 10 games) is among the hottest hitters in the NL.

Tonight’s pitching matchup:

Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.60 ERA) vs. Jarred Cosart (1-1, 3.63 ERA)

Gee and Cosart matched up 11 days ago in New York in the first game of that four-game set. That night, Cosart allowed five runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings, while Gee gave up four runs in his 5.2 frames in which he struck out seven. Giancarlo Stanton and Martin Prado both homered and Ichiro tripled, but it wasn’t enough as the Marlins and Cosart blew a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. The Mets of course won that game 7-5.

The Marlins showed in their last matchup with Gee that they are capable of hitting him hard, and that was when the offense was largely scuffling. Now, with the bats en fuego, the Marlins have a shot at extending the winning streak and bringing the wide-open NL East race even closer. These two teams received eerily similar comparisons in the preseason, and were expected to duke it out all season for second place in the division. The Marlins are already 0-4 against the Mets this year, so this late-April series is actually rather significant. They simply can’t lose this series.

The Marlins will line up this way:

Dee Gordon, 2B

Martin Prado, 3B

Giancarlo Stanton, RF

Marcell Ozuna, CF

Michael Morse, 1B

J.T. Realmuto, C

Ichiro Suzuki, LF

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

Jarred Cosart, P

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