Preview: Pablo Lopez makes MLB debut for Marlins in Game 2 vs. Mets

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TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 3:30 p.m.

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No matter how well he pitches, the New York Mets do not win very often when Jacob deGrom is on the mound.

The Mets do not win very often regardless of the starting pitcher, which is why the phrase “deGrom trade” is an easy search engine term.

The Mets were originally going to start deGrom Friday but scratched him due to a family situation, and the ace will start in the middle game of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Saturday at Marlins Park.

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On a team with one of the National League’s worst records at 32-47, deGrom is doing his part even if the record does not show it. He is 5-3 with a 1.69 ERA, though three of those wins were when the Mets opened 11-1 and were 17-9 in April.

The Mets are 15-38 since then after stranding 10 and wasting nine walks in Friday’s 7-2 loss to Miami. They are 6-10 when deGrom starts and have dropped eight of their last 10 games when deGrom pitches.

Most of it is due to the sub-par offense as New York owns a .232 batting average. The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in nine of deGrom’s last 10 starts, including last Saturday’s 8-3 loss when he allowed three runs and five hits in six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“My changeup was terrible,” deGrom said. “My slider was good at times, but other times it wasn’t even close to being a strike. So I had one pitch, my fastball, that I couldn’t really locate. You’re trying to get big league hitters out with a pitch that you don’t really know where it’s going, and the other ones were garbage. I just wasn’t very good tonight.”

It is because of the losing that the debate rages on about what the Mets should do with deGrom, who made his major league debut on May 15, 2014, and will not be a free agent until after the 2020 season.

Whatever the decision is on deGrom it will be made by John Ricco, who is filling in along with Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi while general manager Sandy Alderson focuses on cancer treatments. Before Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he discussed the possibility of dealing of deGrom.

“We’re going to talk about that,” Ricco said. “We just kind of got into this. Sandy was on the record with one point of view. We’ll get together to discuss it. Obviously, they’re two huge pieces for us. We’ll have to consider. For me, everything has to be on the table. But you have to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher.”

Against Miami, deGrom is 4-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 career starts. This season he allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings in an 8-6 win at Miami on April 10 and pitched seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 home loss on May 23.

While the Mets start their ace, Miami will unveil another prospect when Pablo Lopez starts. After Sandy Alcantra pitched five innings Friday, Lopez will be the sixth Miami pitcher to make his major league debut.

“It’s still very unreal,” Lopez told reporters before the series opener. “It still doesn’t feel real that I’m right here with this field, with these teammates, this scenario. It’s still very overwhelming, but still very exciting as well.”

Lopez is among four prospects acquired from the Seattle Mariners for David Phelps on July 20, and when he struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings during spring training, the Marlins noticed.

“I remember hearing at the winter meetings in November, I believe, how much our guys liked him and the presence he had,” Miami manager Don Mattingly told reporters. “We were able to see it in spring training. It was impressive, just his whole demeanor, the way he handles himself. You can tell, he’s a sharp kid, well prepared.”

In 12 combined starts for Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans, he is 2-3 with a 1.44 ERA while opposing hitters are hitting .196 (46-for-235). He is ranked sixth among full-season minor leaguers in ERA and WHIP (0.93) and leads all Miami minor league pitchers in ERA.

Lopez started the season at Jacksonville, where he was 1-2 with a 0.62 ERA in eight starts. In his four starts with New Orleans, he allowed seven earned runs in 18 2/3 innings.