Preview: Marlins begin home series against Mets
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET
MIAMI — The Miami Marlins and New York Mets have played 200 games in south Florida, and each team has won 100.
That tie will be broken this week when the Marlins (34-40) host the Mets (34-41) for three games between National League East rivals starting Tuesday.
The Marlins on Monday made a player move, trading shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to the Tampa Bay Devils for two lower-level projects: center fielder Braxton Lee and right-hander Ethan Clark.
Miami, which is coming off a four-game split against the Chicago Cubs, is going with rookie J.T. Riddle at shortstop.
Hechavarria, who makes $4.5 million annually, is a two-time Gold Glove finalist. And while he is a far less accomplished hitter, he is more proven offensively than Riddle.
Meanwhile, the Mets, who have already set a franchise record for most homers in a month with 46 in June, are coming off a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
The Marlins-Mets series starts with a battle of right-handers: Miami’s Dan Straily (5-4, 3.43 ERA) and New York’s Robert Gsellman (5-5, 6.04).
Straily has two career appearances against the Mets and is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA. Earlier this season, he got a no-decision against New York, tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Overall, though, Straily has been Miami’s most consistent starter this year. But he will face a Mets lineup that has hit 46 homers in June, a franchise record for any month.
Offensively, Miami has averaged just 2.5 runs in the past six games.
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, though, is confident his team’s offense can support Straily and all their pitchers.
“Baseball is a roller-coaster ride,” Realmuto said of the ups and downs. “We’ll get the bats going again.”
Gsellman was brilliant as a rookie last season, posting a 4-2 record and a 2.42 ERA in eight games, including seven as a starter.
This year, in 16 games, including 13 starts, Gsellman’s WHIP is up from 1.28 to 1.62.
With Gsellman on the mound, there’s a good chance baseballs will be sailing. He gave up just one homer last year but has allowed 13 this year. And in his past two starts, Gsellman has allowed a whopping 15 runs in 9 1/3 innings.
In three career starts against the Marlins, Gsellman is 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA with four homers in 14 2/3 innings.
But Gsellman isn’t the only New York problem. The Mets overall have been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball this season.
Injuries have been the biggest factor. At one point or another this season, they have had five high-end starting pitchers on the disabled list, including Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo.
In addition, closer Jeurys Familia has missed most of the season.
As for the lineup, second baseman Neil Walker, third baseman David Wright and center fielder Juan Lagares are on the DL. Other starters have been hurt this season, including left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, first baseman Lucas Duda and catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
Controversy hit the Mets this past weekend when the Mets moved Cabrera to second base. Cabrera, 31, promptly demanded a trade, although he did indeed play second base.
“We’ll get through it,” Mets manager Terry Collins told the media. “Everybody needs to do their jobs. He’s not happy about it, but he’s a professional.
“I know he can play second base. He’s got tremendous hands.”
Cabrera played second base in his first two games off the disabled list but was back at shortstop on Sunday as Jose Reyes was rested. Even so, Cabrera went 7-for-14 with three walks in the series against the Giants.
The Mets have other concerns, too. Outfielder Michael Conforto, who has been one of their steadier hitters all season, was hit by a pitch on Sunday and suffered a contusion on his left wrist. X-rays were negative, but it will be interesting to see if he misses time.
In other Mets news, New York promoted left fielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow from Class A Columbia to Class A Port St. Lucie.
Tebow, a native of Florida, is thus coming home. He helped the Florida Gators win two national titles and is immensely popular, especially in his state.
In other Marlins news, left fielder Marcell Ozuna has moved up in the voting for the July 11 All-Star Game. Ozuna, who is batting .319 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs, is now third in the voting.
Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton said Monday that he will defend his title in the Home Run Derby on July 10.