What a difference a week makes. With consecutive series wins under their belt, the Marlins finally seem poised to head in the right direction. Of course that same week has also continued to turn heads towards the first place Mets, who have baseball’s best record through the first three weeks. And it’s not like it’s been close as far as the NL East goes- the Mets have the largest division lead in the game; Miami could sweep this series, and still be more than a series worth of games from tasting the top spot. Speaking of that series, let’s break it down.
Why Miami Wins The Series
- Strike 1- Defense. Slight edge to the Marlins in this matchup of top ten defenses, out of respect for the fact Miami sits at first while the Mets rank tenth entering play Sunday. Miami has only given up one unearned run on the year, and just reeled of a string of five mistake-free outings for the second time this season.
- Strike 2- Discarded Aces. You’ve probably heard of Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey. Well you won’t be hearing about them throwing a pitch this series. Miami gets the bottom of the rotation this time around, ducking two Cy Young caliber hurlers who have dominated the Marlins in their careers.
- Strike 3- Home field advantage. Seems like a cheap one, and in fact almost put Martin Prado’s play in the two hole (5-1 since making the switch) here. But during this stunning 14-5 stretch the Mets have started the 2015 campaign with, they are only 4-5 on the road. Throw that in with the last two “strikes”, and Miami might just catch the corner to swipe a series from the mighty Metropolitans.
Why New York Wins The Series
- Strike 1- Pitching. Entering play Sunday, the Mets had a team ERA of 2.96. The Marlins just had to limit the opposition to four runs in their last 36 innings pitched to pull their team mark down to 4.3. The string of quality starts turned in by Miami’s rotation during that run pretty much to a man marked season-best performances. For David Phelps, make it career-best. One pitching staff here has earned the benefit of the doubt, and let’s just say it’s not the one that goes south after Spring Training.
- Strike 2- Offense. The Mets are better in most metrics- although it must be said Miami has closed the gap significantly during their streak, and even surpassed them in average. But Miami’s numbers have been bolstered by a ridiculous hitting pace the past week, whereas the Mets have consistently produced all year. Runs, homers, OBP- all favor New York. Same as with pitching, Miami needs to keep producing to earn back their preseason esteem.
- Strike 3- Marlin tormenters. Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares…take your pick. Miami actually hit Harvey pretty well last series; Bartolo Colon put his mammoth foot on their throat. Gee has quirkily owned Miami, and the bottom of the Mets order delighted in extending innings. Michael Cuddyer only went 6 for 12 in the series, and that was just in three games. Whether you pick career marks, or season stats to this point, there’s no shortage of Mets that Miami has shown no indication of having figured out.