(Photo credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)
Four of the seven postseason contenders to face the New York Mets over the past four weeks earned a series win.
The Miami Marlins were one of the unfortunate three that fell to New York but will get a second chance at redemption this week.
The Marlins will look to remain in the thick of the National League wild-card race Tuesday night when they visit the Mets in the opener of a three-game series.
Braxton Garrett (9-6, 3.53 ERA) is slated to start for the Marlins against fellow left-hander Joey Lucchesi (3-0, 2.88).
Both teams had their final scheduled off day of the season Monday.
The Marlins completed their home schedule Sunday, when Jon Berti hit two home runs in a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in the deciding game of a three-game series. The Mets played their road finale Sunday, when the Philadelphia Phillies completed a four-game sweep with a 5-2 victory.
The Marlins (81-75) won the final two games of the series against the Brewers and are a game behind the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks in the race for the third and final wild-card spot in the NL. The Cubs swept a three-game series from the visiting Colorado Rockies.
The win on Sunday assured Miami of finishing at least .500 in a full season for the first time since 2009 when they were 87-75. The Marlins are attempting to make the playoffs for the first time in a full season since 2003, when they won the World Series.
Miami made the playoffs following the truncated 60-game pandemic season in 2020 and beat the Cubs in a wild-card series before falling to the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series.
"It is crazy to think about it," said Berti, who has been with the Marlins since they went 57-105 in 2019. "Outside of the 2020 year, we really haven't had a lot of success since I've been here. This is what you play for -- meaningful games in September down the stretch here."
The Mets (71-85), long out of realistic playoff contention, have been left to play spoiler during a season-ending stretch consisting largely of games against contenders.
New York is 11-14 since Aug. 28 against seven contenders - the Marlins, Phillies and Diamondbacks as well as the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds. The Mets took two of three at Miami last week.
"We competed with them, but not enough to get over the top," Mets manager Buck Showalter said. "It's disappointing more for the teams that are trying to catch (the Phillies), including us at this point for us, too."
Garrett and Lucchesi are opposing each other for the second consecutive start. Neither pitcher factored into the decision in the Marlins' 4-3 win on Sept. 19, when Garrett gave up an unearned run over six innings and Lucchesi allowed three runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings.
Garrett is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Mets. Lucchesi is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts against the Marlins.
--Field Level Media