By Declan Finn
Getting swept in three games by the Pittsburgh Pirates was possibly the wake-up call the New York Mets needed early this season. After a tremendous start that has been rehashed more times than anyone could wish, the Mets went into a tailspin, which was low-lighted by the horrible trip to Pittsburgh. But three games against the Phillies later, and these are happy days again for the Mets and their fans.
The Mets beat up on Philadelphia to start the week, sweeping three games and continuing their mastery over the bottom-dwellers of the division, a perfect way to make the postseason. The Mets are now 8-1 against the Phillies and next play the last-place Miami Marlins at CitiField for three games this weekend. The Mets have won five of seven games against the Marlins.
Of course, if the Mets keep on beating up those two teams, and do well against the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, they won't let the Nationals get too far away in the NL East title race. Right now, the Mets are 1.5 games back, right in the conversation as possible division champs as the month of June quickly approaches.
First things first, however, and that's to win a series against the Marlins starting Friday night before heading to the West Coast for seven games.
Miami Marlins (18-30, 5th Place NL East)
at New York Mets (27-21, 2nd Place NL East)
Friday, 7:10 p.m.
Matt Harvey (5-2, 2.91) vs. Dan Haren (4-2, 3.09)
Saturday, 4:10 p.m.
Jonathan Niese (3-5, 4.08) vs. Tom Koehler (3-3, 3.44)
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.
Bartolo Colon (7-3, 4.82) vs. David Phelps (2-2, 3.56)
The Mets had none coming into Monday afternoon's game against the Phillies, having lost three straight and five of their last six. But three days later, the Mets flipped that and have a winning streak of three after sweeping the Phillies at home. It was capped by a stellar performance by Noah Syndergaard Wednesday, who pitched and hit (with a home run) the Mets to a 7-0 victory. Friday is also Matt Harvey Day, which always brings its own type of momentum. The Marlins, on the other hand, are struggling, already have fired their manager, and replaced him with general manager Dan Jennings. The transition has been anything but smooth, as rumors persist players aren't happy with the team's direction. Miami is 3-14 over their last 17 games and just got swept by the Pirates in three. The Marlins lost nine straight games before taking two of three from Baltimore before the Pittsburgh series.
Three Marlins To Know
1. Dee Gordon has hit a little bit of a lull over the past 10 games, but it's a lull most players would love to have. He's put together 10 hits over that span, but his average has dipped 30 points. Gordon was hitting .406, but still holds the top average in the National League, at .376. He's hasn't had any extra base hits or RBI, but he has scored six runs and stolen seven bases, so Gordon is still contributing a great deal. He currently has a six-game hit streak.
2. The Mets are either catching Giancarlo Stanton at the perfect time or the worst. Stanton, one of the game's best hitters, has struggled over the past week, hitting just .200 (5-for-25) with a double, home run and four RBI in seven games. He's batting just .232 for the season, but does have 13 home runs (third best in the NL) and 42 RBI (second best in the NL). Stanton, who signed a 13-year, $325 million contract, was a second round draft choice of the Marlins in 2007.
3. Martin Prado, who played a half-season with the Yankees last year, has had a highly-productive week at the plate, going 9-for-31 (.290) with two runs, a double, home run and five RBI in seven games. He had a nine-game hit streak snapped after an 0-for-4 game against the Pirates Wednesday. Take away that game, and Prado's recent surge is even more impressive.
The Mets head to San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres starting Monday.