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MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – The New York Mets are trying to determine the best way to proceed down the stretch with their young pitchers, and wrapping up the National League East as soon as possible would certainly allow them to get some rest.

The Mets will try to get back to the process of doing that when they visit the Marlins for the second of a three-game series on Saturday.

New York lost a game in the standings and the first contest of the series when it dropped a 6-5 decision in 11 innings to the Marlins as the Washington Nationals were beating Atlanta in extra innings on Friday.

The Mets, who now own a five-game lead in the NL East, are in a public dispute with agent Scott Boras over the best way to handle right-hander Matt Harvey’s workload and have a plan for all of their young pitchers as the team anticipates a deep run into October.

The Marlins have no October plans but are winners of four straight and will help decide the East with 12 more games against New York and Washington.

Miami attempts to steal the series behind left-hander Brad Hand while the Mets counter with a right-hander with no workload concerns – veteran Bartolo Colon.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Bartolo Colon (12-11, 4.42 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Brad Hand (4-4, 4.54)

Colon is moving up in the rotation as New York gives rookie Noah Syndergaard some extra rest down the stretch. Colon is riding a string of 16 straight scoreless innings after striking out nine and allowing four hits in eight scoreless innings to beat Philadelphia on Monday. The hefty veteran was nearly as strong at Miami on Aug. 3, yielding one run and seven hits in eight frames to pick up the win.

Hand had a string out two straight wins come to an end at Washington on Sunday, when he was knocked around for five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old had allowed a total of three runs in 14 frames over his previous two outings. Hand tossed four scoreless innings against New York on Aug. 4, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out three.

WALK-OFFS:

  1. Mets 1B Daniel Murphy (quad) received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Thursday and is expected to sit at least through Saturday.
  2. Miami 3B Martin Prado went 5-for-6 in the opener and is 10-for-18 with five RBIs and four runs scored in the last four games.
  3. New York OF Michael Cuddyer (wrist tendinitis) sat out Friday and is day-to-day.

 

PREDICTION: Mets 7, Marlins 5

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