By Declan Finn
The potential was there just a few days ago for this matchup between the New York Mets and Miami Marlins to mean something in the wild card pennant race. But both teams suffered season-destroying series losses this weekend, with the Mets dropping three of four to the Nationals and the Marlins losing two of three to the Phillies.
The Mets were knocked out of the race by their old nemesis, a Washington team that has beaten them 13 of 16 times this season. The Marlins were eliminated from the race after losing all the momentum they had gained when NL MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face by a pitch against the Brewers and had to be taken away by ambulance. The loss of their star player was too much for the Marlins to bounce back from, as they lost three of their last four game since that happened.
For those interested in the NL East standings, there is a chance here for the Mets to reach third place with a series win. They could even make up enough ground to possibly pass the Braves for second place at the end of the week. Here's a closer look at the three-game series which begins Monday night.
Miami Marlins (72-76, 6.5 GB of second WC)
at New York Mets (72-78, 7.5 GB of second WC)
Monday, 7:10 p.m.
Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.62) vs. Jarred Cosart (13-9, 3.70)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Bartolo Colon (13-12, 4.14) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (6-11, 4.29)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Dillon Gee (7-7, 3.80) vs. Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.81)
Playoff Picture: Realistically, the playoffs are out of reach for the Mets and Marlins. The Mets would have to make up 7.5 games with just 12 games remaining, while the Marlins would have to make up 6.5 games with 14 remaining. The real battle for the final wild card spot will come down to the Pirates, who are 8-2 over their last 10 games, and the Brewers, who trail by 1.5 games.
Momentum: The Mets were 7-2 in September and made a nice run into postseason contention before all that momentum vanished after losing three of four games to the Washington Nationals. The Nationals owned the Mets this season, going 13-3. The worst part is the Mets have to play Washington three more times before this season ends. For the Marlins, everything changed when Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face by a pitch against the Brewers, as the air was seemingly released from the team's playoff hopes. Stanton suffered multiple injuries and might not play again this season. The Marlins lost that game and the following two before beating the Phillies Sunday.
Who's Hot: deGrom, who pitches Monday, could be the main guy to root for over the final 12 games, as he has a great chance to win NL Rookie of the Year. He hasn't allowed an earned run in three straight starts. ... Curtis Granderson is 4-for-10 with two doubles and an RBI over his last three games. ... Juan Lagares went 6-for-12 with two doubles and an RBI in his last three games. ... Carlos Torres hasn't allowed an earned run in his last five relief appearances, picking up a win and three holds over that span. For Miami, Marcell Ozuna has a 10-game hit streak and is batting .370 with four home runs and six RBI over his last seven games. He homered in four straight games at one point. ... Adeiny Hechavarria went 4-for-12 against the Phillies. Alvarez, who goes Wednesday, allowed one run over seven innings in his last start. ... Cosart, who opposes deGrom Monday night, has allowed a total of six runs in his last six starts.
Who's Not: Dilson Hererra is 1-for-12 over his last six games. ... Daniel Murphy went 0-for-11 in three games against Washington. ... Colon, who pitches Tuesday, allowed five runs on seven hits in just three innings before getting tossed from the game in his last start. For Miami, Donovan Solano is 1-for-his-last-15. ... Eovaldi, who pitches Tuesday, has lost five straight decisions.
Looking Ahead: After an off day Thursday, the Mets hit the road for three games against the Braves.