Preview: Marlins look to complete 3-game sweep of Mets
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.
MIAMI — The Miami Marlins, who entered this week’s series against the Mets having lost 17 of 20 games, are suddenly one win away from sweeping New York.
“It’s been a rough month,” Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto said after his walk-off, 10th-inning homer helped Miami rally past the Mets 5-4 on Tuesday. “To be able to come back tonight was huge for us.”
Miami (71-80) will send Jose Urena to the mound on Wednesday afternoon to face the Mets (65-86) and Rafael Montero in a battle of 26-year-old right-handers.
Urena (13-6, 3.62 ERA) has made a stunning transformation this year. After compiling a cumulative 5-14 record in his first two years in the majors, Urena ranks in the top 25 in the National League in wins and ERA this season.
In four games against the Mets this year, including two starts, Urena is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA, striking out nine and walking just one in 16 innings.
Montero (5-10, 5.08 ERA) had made 12 starts in the past three years. This year, with injuries decimating New York’s rotation, Montero will be making his career-high 17th start of the season on Wednesday.
So far, Montero has been unimpressive, averaging 10.3 hits per nine innings and 5.0 walks.
In six games against the Marlins this year, including two starts, Montero is 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA.
Here, though, is what the Mets — desperate for hope — are pointing toward in regards to Montero: He has been better lately. In his past seven starts, he is 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA.
Offensively, there are at least two Mets to watch on Wednesday: shortstop Jose Reyes and catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
Reyes, who set a season high with four hits on Tuesday, is batting .356 with four homers over his past 24 games.
After a painfully slow start, Reyes, 34, has been much better in the second half of the season. He hit .174 in April, .216 in May and .213 in June. But then he woke up and hit .302 in July, .269 in August and .281 so far in September. His .932 on-base-plus-slugging percentage this month is his season high.
“I see it every night,” Mets manager Terry Collins said when asked about Reyes. “He brings energy. He loves to play, gets big hits. He plays hard, and he’s had a tremendous second half of the season. I’m really happy for him.”
Because Wednesday features a day game after a night game, the Mets may opt to rest d’Arnaud. But perhaps the Mets should rest the catcher later, and here’s why: In his career, d’Arnaud is batting .325 against the Marlins.
This year, he is hitting .364 with three homers and nine RBIs vs. Miami. That includes his 13th homer of the season on Tuesday, a two-run shot that snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning.
D’Arnaud finished the game 2-for-5. He tied his career high in homers and also set his personal best in RBIs (47).
As for Miami’s hitters, the Mets on Tuesday issued four walks to Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 55 homers.
If New York continues to be that careful with Stanton, look for Miami hitters such as Realmuto, first baseman Justin Bour and center fielder Christian Yelich to do some damage.
As with d’Arnaud and New York, Miami may opt to rest Realmuto on Wednesday. If not, it is worth noting that both of his career walk-off hits have come against the Mets.
Realmuto also hit his 29th double of the season on Tuesday. His career high of 31 doubles was set last year.
Bour is hitting .450 in his past five games and has set his career high with four consecutive multi-hit performances.
Yelich hit his 18th homer of the season on Tuesday and is three long balls short of his career high, which was set last year.
“Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the next couple of series,” Realmuto said. “Hopefully we can finish the season strong.”