The resurgent New York Mets, winners of seven of their past 10 games, are still in contention for the National League East division title, and they’re looking to make a move.
New York (69-69) will open a three-game series on Tuesday night at the Miami Marlins.
Miami (57-80) is out of contention. But the Marlins have won three of their past four series, including two of three games from the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend.
“There’s a lot of fight in us,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Indeed, the Marlins are 6-6 against the Mets this year. At home, the Marlins have a winning record at 36-33.
The Mets, 28-42 on the road, could be considered underdogs on Tuesday, when they will start veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 6.59 ERA).
Carrasco started the year on the injured list. The Mets are just 3-4 when starting Carrasco, who has lasted more than five innings just twice.
The 34-year-old is 0-0 with a 4.66 ERA in two starts against Miami this year. For his career against the Marlins, he is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA in four starts.
Miami will start rookie right-hander Edward Cabrera (0-1, 5.23 ERA).
Cabrera, 23, has made just two major-league appearances, both starts, and one of them was his loss to the Mets on Aug. 31. He lasted just four innings in that game, allowing seven hits and three runs.
Blessed with an arm that produces 100-mph fastballs, Cabrera has been vulnerable to the long ball, allowing three homers in 10 1/3 innings.
Cabrera will face a Mets lineup that has scored 52 runs in its past eight games.
Just about a week ago, it seemed as if the Mets were at war with their own fans. Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez and Kevin Pillar all directed “thumbs down” signs toward Mets fans, who have booed their underperforming team. The boos grew louder in August, when the Mets went just 9-19.
However, during this latest hot stretch, it’s been the “thumbs-down guys” who have come through the most. Pillar, for example, has four homers and 10 RBIs in his past eight games.
For the season, Pillar has 14 homers and 39 RBIs in just 268 at-bats, and he has made an adjustment recently after getting fooled on numerous off-speed pitches.
“I’m trying to pull the ball less,” said Pillar, who has taken over in center field for Brandon Nimmo (hamstring injury). “I’ve been a pull hitter my whole life. But I’ve moved closer to the plate. I’m letting the ball travel more.”
Meanwhile, a Marlins hitter to watch is rookie outfielder Bryan De La Cruz, who is batting .336 in 107 at-bats.
In Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, De La Cruz showed courage. He was hit by a 98-mph fastball – the ball hit his left shoulder and then caromed off the back of his head, under his helmet.
De La Cruz went down but got back up. Later in the game, he slugged a homer and added an RBI groundout.
“It’s great to see him thriving,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said of De La Cruz, who was acquired from the Houston Astros’ minor-league system on July 28 in exchange for closer Yimi Garcia. “Bryan has fit right in.”
— Field Level Media