Series Preview: Mets at Marlins

The Miami Marlins will bring a two-game win streak into a series with the New York Mets beginning on Monday.

After dropping their first two games of the season, the Marlins evened up a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Miami’s starting rotation appeared strong in the series, while the offense struggled at times. In addition, Miami’s bullpen was inconsistent and unreliable during the series.

Caleb Smith will make his first start of the season in Monday’s series opener. Smith has not started a regular season game since June 14th of last season. With a lat strain behind him, Smith will look to build on the success he had in 2018. Smith has the ability to pile up big strikeout numbers and can be especially challenging for left-handed hitters. The Mets have multiple lefties in their everyday lineup, which could put Smith in line for a solid season debut.

Jose Urena is penciled in for Tuesday’s start, following a sub-par outing on Opening Day. Urena has solid numbers against some of New York’s hitters in his career, but Michael Conforto has his number. In 19 career at-bats, Conforto is hitting .368 with a 1.060 OPS against Urena. Conforto sits in the middle of New York’s batting order and Urena will need to keep the bases clean ahead of him.

Trevor Richards pitched well against the Rockies, but ended up with a no-decision. Richards will get another chance for a win, when he starts Wednesday’s series finale. The right-hander put together some good numbers in two starts against the Mets in 2018. Richards threw 81 pitches in his six innings against Colorado and should see an increase in his workload this time around. If Richards can be efficient against the Mets, he could work his way into the seventh or even eighth inning.

Miami’s offense has been interesting thus far, with a surprising amount of power. The Marlins only tallied six hits in the first two games of the season, but four of those hits were home runs. The offense woke up for the third game of the season, with seven runs on 16 hits. Hits were hard to come by once again in Sunday’s series finale, but Miami did enough with the five hits it picked up.

JT Riddle has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins thus far, with two home runs in his first seven at-bats. Riddle is sharing time with Miguel Rojas at shortstop, but could see an increase in playing time. Rojas has a pair of doubles already this season, but Riddle could provide Miami with another source of power. Both players could be on the field at the same time as well at times, due to the versatility of Rojas.

Lewis Brinson had an ugly first series of the season, both offensively and defensively. Brinson is hitting .143 in 14 at-bats and has also been charged with an error. In addition to the error, the center fielder has looked sloppy in the field thus far. After hitting .199 last season, Brinson may have a short leash this season in Miami. Brinson picked up two hits including a double in Saturday’s game and will look to build on that in the series with New York.

Monday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.