MIAMI — The pitching matchup for Wednesday’s battle of left-handers favors the New York Mets over the Miami Marlins.
The Mets (34-42), who lost the series opener 6-3 to the Marlins on Tuesday, will start Steven Matz, who is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA this season. In two career starts at Marlins Park, Matz is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA.
Interestingly, Matz has apparently abandoned his slider since coming off the disabled list on June 10. He is throwing his curve and changeup at career-high rates.
Matz had allowed just one total walk after his first two starts, but he gave up five bases on balls in six innings on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Matz also struck out eight in that game, and it will be interesting to see what adjustments he makes in terms of his control.
Miami (35-40) will start Jeff Locke, who is 0-3 with a 5.70 ERA this season. He has yet to win a game for the Marlins, and he has lasted just four innings in each of his past two starts.
To make matters worse for Miami, he has not had success against the Mets.
In his career against New York, Locke is 0-2 with a 6.63 ERA in four appearances, all starts. The last time he faced the Mets was last year, when he got beat, allowing seven runs in four innings.
As for the offenses, both teams have dangerous sluggers.
Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who has 20 homers, announced he would defend his title in the Home Run Derby, the July 10 event in that precedes Miami’s All-Star Game by one day.
“It’s not too often that you get to compete in the Home Run Derby in your hometown,” Stanton said Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to it. I know it will be a good time, win or lose. I’m going to enjoy the moment.”
For the Mets, perhaps their hottest hitter is center fielder Curtis Granderson, who led off Tuesday’s game with a home run.
On May 3, Granderson was slumping badly with a .122 batting average. But Granderson, who now has 11 homers this season, has an impressive 1.122 on-base-plus-slugging percentage over the past 37 games.
The 36-year-old veteran has stayed with his approach and is now seeing dividends.
“I wouldn’t say I’m locked in because nothing has changed,” Granderson told the New York Post this week. “The chase rate that we keep track of is the same. The walks are attributed to the opposition missing.”
Granderson has managed to stay healthy this year, which is more than can be said for most of his teammates.
At some point this year, the Mets have had five starting pitchers, their closer and eight everyday starters go down.
A sixth starting pitcher, Robert Gsellman, injured his left hamstring on Tuesday and is likely headed for the disabled list.
“Just another frustrating night,” Mets manager Terry Collins said after the Tuesday game.
Gsellman, who said he was feeling more frustration than outright pain in his hamstring, obviously agreed.
“We’re dropping like flies,” he said. “I’ve had this injury before. It’s not fun. Hopefully, I won’t be out too long.”