With only three games left before the All-Star break after today's battle, the Marlins are four games over the .500 mark and 5.5 games back of first place in the NL East. Mattingly's club also finds themselves in a matchup against one of the best arms in the National League, Jacob deGrom. Hoping to take the rubber match of this series against a team whom they possess a lot of history with, the Marlins send Justin Nicolino to the mound in search of his first win since May 3rd.
|Team||Starter||ERA||FIP||2016 ZIPS Projected ERA|
The 24 year old Marlin lefty comes into this game with little success outside of his first two starts of the season. After those two, he has posted only one quality start and his game log is often filled with threes, fours, and fives in the earned run column. While he features a four pitch mix of a fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup, only the change has been an above average pitch this season according to Fangraph's PitchF/X values. This off speed offering is also one of the only pitches he has used consistently, between 14-24% of the time in any given start. His other three pitches have fluctuated greater, ranging from 36-67% on his fastball, 3-28% on his cutter, and 6-20% on his curveball.
While there doesn't seem to be too much correlation on the surface when looking at his usage compared to his actual in-game results, it is clear that Nicolino hasn't exactly found his groove this season. In his one start against the Mets at home earlier this year, Nicolino got through 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits but only two earned runs. With one start at Citi Field last season as well, this outing will be his third against the Mets in his career.
Unfortunately for the Marlins, they face Jacob deGrom, an ace who stormed onto the scene last year posting a 2.54 ERA over 191 innings with 205 strikeouts. Whether due to last season's late run into the postseason or another unknown force, deGrom started out 2016 with less ease then he was used to in 2015. Uncharacteristically walking multiple batters in four straight games from May 15th to June 1st, since then, he has maintained a 37:4 strikeout to walk ratio and seems to be back to normal.
DeGrom's best pitch is his slider, which he has thrown 21% of the time this season, up about 6% from 2015. With a few other great pitches in his repertoire (you can argue all five he throws are plus pitches), deGrom will be tough to solve today. If the Marlins can get him to fall behind in the count and force him to use his fastball, they might have a shot, as that pitch hasn't been as elite as it was in 2015 (+1.52 PitchF/X value '15, -0.02 PitchF/X value '16). As if his luscious hair isn't enough of an advantage, deGrom has been lights out in his 18 career matinee starts, posting a 1.29 ERA with a 10-2 record.
|MIAMI MARLINS||NEW YORK METS|
|Derek Dietrich - 2B||Jose Reyes - 3B|
|J.T. Realmuto - C||Curtis Granderson - RF|
|Christian Yelich - LF||Yoenis Cespedes - LF|
|Marcell Ozuna - CF||Neil Walker - 2B|
|Giancarlo Stanton - RF||Wilmer Flores - 1B|
|Chris Johnson - 3B||Asdrubal Cabrera - SS|
|Don Kelly - 1B||Juan Lagares - CF|
|Adeiny Hechavarria - SS||Rene Rivera - C|
|Justin Nicolino - LHP||Jacob deGrom - RHP|
- Don Kelly gets the start at first base for the Marlins today with Justin Bour still nursing an ailing ankle. This will be just the third time Kelly has played in a game for the Marlins in his career after battling a broken thumb and tommy john surgery in 2015. Now 36 years old, the lefty was hitting .223 with one home run and two doubles over 48 games at AAA.
- Marlin's hitters lifetime against deGrom have had moderate success, posting a .312 average. Yet, only one player has multiple extra base hits off him (Christian Yelich), and nobody has taken him deep in 125 at bats over seven starts. Speculating as I always like to do, Giancarlo Stanton is coming off one of the few games all season where he looked like the 40 HR power threat of old. His first off Steven Matz in the 7th inning last night was 119 MPH+ off the bat (one of the hardest balls hit all season) and had a launch angle of only 17.4 degrees, aka, an absolute laser. His second, an inning later, was a moonshot on a pitch inside that he beautifully tucked his front elbow in to get to, as it traveled 424 feet. If any Marlin were to take deGrom deep today, I would have my money on Stanton.
- In the betting world, the Mets are favored in this game at -225, while the Marlins sit at +195. With the over/under run total at 7.5, the over is favored at -130. The Mets are also the favorite to win this game by two or more runs at -115.
Prediction: Very hard to bet against deGrom in this pitching matchup, Mets wins low scoring affair 4-1