The New York Mets were able to make up for their various flaws in their four-game sweep over the New York Yankees, but their woes of an overall disappointing season continued as they dropped the first game of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins, losing 5-1.
Shaun Marcum, who pitched very well to start the game, seems to have adjusted to being back in the majors after recovering from injury, a great sign for the Mets, whose starting rotation is beginning to live up expectations it had fell drastically short of thus far. Marcum eventually got lit up for consecutive bloops in the seventh inning to eventually let up four runs.
It is common knowledge that pitchers tend to do worse the more times they go through the order. With Shaun Marcum, this fact seems especially true. He has little velocity, so he relies on mixing up his pitches early in the game, making him much more predictable to hitters the more they see him.
Considering the Mets finally have a competent bullpen, or so it seems, Marcum may need to be put on a very short leash after the sixth inning of any start in part to keep him effective and in part to keep him healthy. The Mets may need to treat Marcum like a more durable Chris Young.
The Mets offense is still anemic despite a nine run showing in the Bronx just a couple of days ago, although Ike Davis is showing signs of life, which is incredibly encouraging. David Wright is slumping hard, which explains the bulk of it, but the team will need to find a way to inject some offense into the lineup, most likely in the outfield, and soon. Rick Ankiel has been a pleasant surprise, but his high strikeout tendencies indicate that this may be short-lived.
On the Miami side of things, the team is clearly on pace to lose at least one hundred games, so their performance should be graded in large part by the performance of their young players. Jacob Turner, a talented right-hander who was acquired in exchange for Anibal Sanchez, seems to be showing some positive results. If he can hone his secondary offerings, the deal may have been worthwhile for the Marlins. Turner and Jose Fernandez could become quite the top of the rotation very soon.
Marcell Ozuna contributed a double to the effort, and has brought his line up to .330/.371/.459, really all you could ask for out of a 22-year-old rookie called up after minimal time in Double-A. Known for his power, he may need time for the pop to show up playing in a very pitcher-friendly home ballpark, but he has managed to keep his K-rate relatively low for himself and make plenty of hard contact.
This year is clearly a lost one for the Marlins, but some of their young stars are beginning to shine brightly, and they may be contending much sooner than some think.