NEW YORK (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Marlins have been playing well lately but have run into a team playing even better.
With eight wins in a row, the New York Mets are on the fast track toward securing their first National League East title since 2006.
The surging Mets look to continue their torrid run to glory when they play the second contest of their three-game series versus the visiting Marlins on Tuesday.
Named the NL Player of the Week on Monday afternoon, Yoenis Cespedes went deep later that night in New York’s 4-3 triumph to improve to a blistering 21-for-55 with nine homers, 19 RBIs and 16 runs scored in September.
The 29-year-old Cuban has hit safely in all 10 career games versus Miami and is 3-for-6 with two RBIs against Tuesday starter Tom Koehler.
Travis d’Arnaud, who is 5-for-12 versus the right-hander, launched a two-run homer on Monday to keep the Mets 9 1/2 games ahead of second-place Washington and reduce their magic number to clinch the division title to 10.
Dee Gordon had two hits in the series opener to improve to 15-for-48 in September for the Marlins, who have dropped two in a row after winning nine of their previous 11.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Tom Koehler (9-13, 3.99 ERA) vs. Mets RH Jacob deGrom (13-7. 2.40)
Koehler posted his first win since July 23 last time out – and he did so impressive fashion.
The 29-year-old New York native matched a career high with 10 strikeouts and allowed two runs on four hits in eight innings of a 5-2 triumph over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Koehler hasn’t fared nearly as well against the Mets, posting a 1-5 mark after taking a no-decision following a five-walk performance on Sept. 4.
DeGrom continued his sterling season on Wednesday, permitting two runs on five hits and striking out nine in seven innings of a 5-3 victory over Washington.
The 27-year-old owns a 3-0 career mark versus the Marlins, but settled for a no-decision in his last meeting on Sept. 4 despite recording a quality start.
DeGrom routinely has given the Citi Field fans a thrill this season, posting a 6-3 record with a stingy 1.57 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while holding the opposition to a .199 batting average.
- New York 3B David Wright has three hits in his last two games, including the go-ahead RBI double Monday, after going 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in his previous two.
- Miami OF Giancarlo Stanton participated in batting practice on Monday, marking the first time he’s done so since breaking the hamate bone in his left hand on June 26.
- The Mets have rallied in six of their last eight victories.
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