NEW YORK CITY: After going 4-3 on the just-completed road trip, the Mets will open a six-game home stand tonight against the Marlins and Astros. It'll be a very intriguing matchup between two pitchers having good seasons.
The Marlins, who generally have plenty of Mets killers on their team, will have a very different look. They traded Jorge Cantu at the trading deadline and just lost two more players over the last week.
They lost catcher Ronny Paulino to a 50-game suspension because of failing a drug test, and they lost outfielder Cody Ross to waivers. All three of those players were Mets killers, especially Cantu.
The Marlins lineup will not be as strong, and that should be a huge break for the Mets. It should please RA Dickey more than anyone, as he'll try to continue his fine pitching.
In his last start, he nearly threw a second straight shutout, and ended up not even throwing a complete game. It still wasn't a bad start against the Astros last Wednesday, as he allowed a game-tying home run to Geoff Blum in the ninth inning.
He allowed two runs in 8.1 innings, walked one and struck out six. He couldn't earn his ninth win, as the Mets won the game, 3-2, in 14 innings. His ERA went down a tad to 2.41.
The Marlins will throw their ace Josh Johnson at the Mets, and he has had great success against them in his career. He lost his first game to the Mets on opening day, and is 7-1 lifetime.
After getting off to a fantastic start and putting himself in the NL Cy Young race, he's struggled lately.
Two starts ago on Aug. 13 against the Reds, he allowed six runs on 10 hits. His first start of the month had him giving up five runs and walking four against the Padres.
Overall in August, Johnson is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.33 and hitters are batting .299 against him. It's one of the worst months of his career.
So with the Marlins playing younger guys, and with Johnson's recent struggles, the Mets might be catching them at the right time.
The Mets trail the Phillies, who lost last night, by eight games in the NL Wild Card race. Time is running out with 38 games to play, so the Mets need a good home stand, their final one in August.
RA Dickey vs. Florida this season (2 starts)
1-1, 6.35 ERA, 11.1 IP, 12 hits, 3 BB, 7 SO
Josh Johnson vs. New York this season (2 starts)
0-1, 3.75 ERA, 12 IP, 8 hits, 4 BB, 10 SO
2010 season series (New York vs. Florida)
April 5: New York 7, Florida 1
April 7: Florida 7, New York 6 (10)
April 8: Florida 3, New York 1
May 13: Florida 2, New York 1
May 14: Florida 7, New York 2
May 15: Florida 7, New York 5
May 16: Florida 10, New York 8
June 4: New York 4, Florida 3
June 5: New York 6, Florida 1
June 6: New York 7, Florida 6
June 28: Florida 10, New York 3
June 29: Florida 7, New York 6
June 30: New York 6, Florida 5
Marlins lead series 8-5