How many crucial series can a team have in one season? I’ve lost track, but tonight starts another for the Mets, who’ll begin a four-game series with the Marlins.
The Mets go into the series two games above .500, and one game behind the Marlins in the wild-card race; two behind Pittsburgh; 2.5 games behind St. Louis and five behind San Francisco.
Pitching was supposed to be the Mets’ strength this season, but you don’t hear too many people lately saying they should sign any of those arms to a long-term contract. The only arm considered to be a significant part of the Mets’ future that is starting in the series is Steven Matz, who’ll come off the disabled list Thursday.
Tonight the Mets will go with Rafael Montero (0-0, 11.57 ERA), up from Double-A; Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.91), who’ll be making his third start of the season; Bartolo Colon (12-7, 3.44) on Wednesday on short rest; and Matz (9-8, 3.40).
Matz, who will be coming off the DL with a mild shoulder strain, threw without discomfort Sunday.
Fernandez is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts against the Mets.
Just as the Mets needed to win in St. Louis, they must win three of four against Miami. Splitting won’t do them much good, and if they lose three of four, or get swept, the ground might be too much for them to make up.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are without Giancarlo Stanton (25 homers) and Justin Bour (15 homers). However, the Marlins got Dee Gordon back from the suspended list, July 28, and he’s hitting .287 with nine steals.
The Marlins also got closer A.J. Ramos (fracture of right middle finger) back from the DL, Aug. 21.
ON DECK: Jose Reyes answers third base questions.