Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Marlins gear up for pivotal DH vs. Mets

Field Level Media
27 Sep 2023, 16:55 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)

An unusual rainout Tuesday night made the road to a National League wild-card berth a little more challenging for the Miami Marlins.

The visiting Marlins will play a pivotal doubleheader on Wednesday, when they are slated to face the New York Mets in the opening two games of a three-game series between the division rivals.

Left-hander Braxton Garrett (9-6, 3.53 ERA), who was scheduled to start on Tuesday, is expected to start the opener for the Marlins, who will likely utilize a bullpen game in the nightcap.

The Mets will counter, in some order, with the starters they had penciled in for Tuesday and Wednesday -- left-hander Joey Lucchesi (3-0, 2.88 ERA) and right-hander Kodai Senga (12-7, 2.96), respectively.

The doubleheader was necessitated when Tuesday's game was postponed due to unplayable field conditions about 70 minutes after the scheduled 7:10 p.m. start. While minimal rain fell in New York during the afternoon and early evening, the Citi Field playing surface remained drenched from the preceding three days of rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia.

Despite not playing, the Marlins gained ground in the race for the third and final National League wild card thanks to the Chicago Cubs, who squandered a six-run lead and fell 7-6 to the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs are 82-75, a half-game ahead of Miami (81-75).

The Diamondbacks (83-74) maintained their grip on the second wild card by beating the Chicago White Sox 15-4. Arizona is one game in front of the Cubs.

However, the rainout likely cost the Marlins a chance to pitch Garrett -- who is 4-3 with a 2.10 ERA in his past 10 starts -- twice this week and ratcheted up the importance of the Wednesday doubleheader.

"We want to play today," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said Tuesday afternoon. "That's definitely the case. But if it's a doubleheader, it's a doubleheader. It's just part of it. It's part of the season that we have to play."

The series against the Marlins presents the Mets (71-85) with their last chance this season to play spoiler. New York finishes its schedule with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies (88-69), who clinched a wild-card berth on Tuesday with a 3-2, 10-inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

New York is 10-13 since Aug. 28 against seven contenders -- the Marlins, Phillies and Diamondbacks as well as the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds -- though the Mets took two of three in Miami last week before enduring a four-game sweep over the weekend in Philadelphia.

"We competed with them, but not enough to get over the top," Mets manager Buck Showalter said following a 5-2 loss to the Phillies on Sunday night. "It's disappointing more for the teams that are trying to catch (the Phillies), including us at this point for us, too."

Garrett and Lucchesi could oppose each other for the second consecutive start. Neither pitcher factored into the decision in the Marlins' 4-3 win on Sept. 19, when Garrett gave up an unearned run over six innings and Lucchesi allowed three runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings.

Senga also will be facing the Marlins for the second straight start. He earned a win on Sept. 20 after allowing two runs over six innings in the Mets' 8-3 victory.

Garrett is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Mets. Lucchesi is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts against the Marlins. Senga is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts against Miami, all this year.

--Field Level Media

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