The New York Mets were beginning to move along a path toward playoff contention before dropping their last three games to Washington by a combined 20-3. It doesn’t get any easier for the Mets as they visit the vastly-improved Miami Marlins on Monday to start a four-game series. The Marlins are 27-22 since May 31 after a rough start and have beaten New York the last five -- and eight of 11 overall in 2013 -- and slugger Giancarlo Stanton is red hot with nine hits in his last 13 at-bats.
Miami has won five of its last seven games after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates two of three over the weekend. The Marlins continue to get solid pitching as their starters have gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs in seven of the last eight games. Mets captain David Wright, batting .340 since June 4, was rested Sunday and the Mets were beaten 14-1.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.17 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Jacob Turner (3-3, 2.49)
Hefner struggled in his last two starts, yielding 14 runs (13 earned) over 6 1/3 innings, after winning three straight decisions. The right-hander has 88 strikeouts and 29 walks over 114 1/3 innings and Stanton is 1-for-10 lifetime with five strikeouts against him. Hefner only allowed three runs in 14 innings despite losing both outings against Miami in April and is 1-2 with a 2.22 ERA in five career games (four starts) versus the Marlins.
Turner tossed seven shutout innings against the Mets in his season debut on May 31 and is 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA in three career starts against them. The 22-year-old has lost in three of his last four outings, but received only two runs of support in the trio of defeats. Wright is 0-for-8 against Turner, who has allowed only three homers in 65 innings.
1. The Marlins are 16-8 at home since losing 20 of their first 27 games in Miami this season.
2. Mets CF Juan Lagares is 21-for-58 (.362) with seven runs scored, seven doubles and 11 RBIs in 19 games during July.
3. Miami RHP Steve Cishek has converted his last 17 save opportunities and blown only two of 22 overall – one against the Mets in April.
PREDICTION: Marlins 4, Mets 2