Their success over the next few days will determine whether or not the Marlins continue to play past Sunday or begin their offseason vacations. With six games left to play, Miami is one game back of the final wild card, and standing in their way this week are two teams already eliminated from postseason contention. The first of those teams is the Mets, and we’ll preview the opening game of that series before going over which side I’ll be backing for the first five innings.
The Marlins and Mets played each other just last week in a series that saw the Mets take two out of three games. After that series loss, Miami finished their final home stand by winning a series over the Brewers, culminating in a 6-1 win on Sunday. In that win, Miami’s offense exploded for 17 hits, with two of them being home runs by Jon Berti. The Marlins would also get five strong innings from Edward Cabrera, as he was able to outduel Freddy Peralta.
Cabrera is one of the few young arms the Marlins have leaned on this season, and getting the ball tonight will be another young arm in Braxton Garrett. The lefty enters tonight on a streak of four straight outings in which he’s allowed one or fewer earned runs. His most recent outing happened to come against the Mets, and despite taking a no-decision, Garrett turned in six shutout innings with seven strikeouts.
The Mets lineup that Garrett recently blanked was swept by the Phillies over the weekend. In their 5-2 loss on Sunday that gave them four straight losses, the Mets could only record three hits while striking out 13 times. Recent call-up Ronny Mauricio would provide the only offense for New York by blasting a two-run home run.
As they look to play spoiler to their division mate, the Mets will have lefty Joey Lucchesi on the bump for his 9th start of the year. Lucchesi pitched against the Marlins on September 19th in an outing that saw him throw 5.2 innings while allowing two earned runs. Overall, the lefty is pitching to a 2.88 ERA in 40.7 innings of work.
Miami’s F5 run-line of (-.5) is currently priced at (+110), and I’ll be backing them for my play. The Mets have struggled against left-handed pitching as of late, and that was evident the last time they faced Garrett and now they’ll have to keep pace with a Marlins offense that is coming off a big game Sunday and is in a must-win situation.
Since August 26th, the Mets' offense ranks 19th in wRC+, 18th in OPS, and 16th in hard hit percentage against left-handed pitching. Not only did Garrett shut them out the last time he faced them, but he is also pitching to a 2.83 FIP and 3.07 xFIP on the road while also placing in the 80th percentile in groundball percentage.
Miami’s offense is hitting .259 and ranks 11th in OPS and wOBA and 10th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching over the last month. The Marlins didn’t do a ton of damage to Lucchesi the last time they faced him, but he has been playing well above his expected numbers, as he currently has an xERA of 5.49 and xBA of .272. With a 5.65 xFIP at home this season, I think Lucchesi could be due for a rough outing against a highly motivated Marlins team.
Miami Marlins F5 (-.5)(+110)