When the host Miami Marlins open a four-game series against the New York Mets on Monday night, there could be catching drama among the visitors.
Wilson Ramos, who is in his second year as the Mets’ starting catcher, is off to a slow start with a .571 OPS, far below his career mark of .755. He is hitting just .206 with one homer and four RBIs in 18 games.
“Hopefully I get out of this slump really soon,” Ramos said. “It’s more mental, but I’m still here ready to work and get better.”
Time may be running out for Ramos, however. The 33-year-old is in the last year of his contract, and his backup, Tomas Nido, is off to a hot start.
Nido, 26, is batting .350 with two homers, six RBIs and a brilliant 1.109 OPS in six games.
Luis Rojas, New York’s rookie manager, has started Nido in two of the past four Mets games, and there’s a reason why.
“(Ramos’) chase rate is a little higher,” Rojas said. “His first-pitch swinging is higher. When pitchers see that, they are going to expand the strike zone.”
Either Ramos or Nido will catch Mets starter Robert Gsellman (0-0, 9.00 ERA) on Monday.
The Mets drafted Gsellman in the 13th round in 2011. Five years later, he made an impressive major league debut, going 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA in eight appearances, including seven starts.
Since then, however, Gsellman has struggled, and his career ERA is 4.49.
In 18 career appearances against the Marlins — including four starts — Gsellman is 1-1 with a 4.81 ERA. At Marlins Park, his ERA is 5.19 in 10 appearances.
Gsellman, who did not make any starts the past two years, is expected to throw only about 50 pitches on Monday. He is not yet fully stretched out as this is just his second start of the year, following an injury to Michael Wacha and Marcus Stroman’s decision to opt out of the season.
The Marlins will counter Gsellman with right-hander Jordan Yamamoto (0-0, 9.82 ERA).
For Yamamoto, 24, this will be his third start of the season and his 18th of his MLB career, which began last year.
He has been used strictly as a starter by the Marlins, who have yet to get much production out of Yamamoto (career numbers: 4-5, 4.92 ERA).
Yamamoto’s career ERA has been much better at home (4.02) than on the road (6.00). In two starts against the Mets, he is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
Pitching matchups aside, the Mets lead the 2020 season series against the Marlins, 2-1. Last year, the Marlins were just 6-13 against the Mets, sporting a 5.17 ERA in those games. The Mets have a 3.25 ERA in those contests.
Both teams enter Monday on a slide. The Mets have lost three straight, getting swept by the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend. Miami has lost five of its past seven games, including two straight.
On Sunday, the Marlins lost 4-0 to the Atlanta Braves. It was the first time this season the Marlins have been swept.
Miami’s bullpen gave up all four of those runs, and the Marlins on offense produced just one walk and two hits — both singles.
To make matters worse, Marlins manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
“It’s a little bit frustrating,” Mattingly said of his team’s lack of offense. “Two days ago, we put eight runs on the board. We just haven’t played good enough to win the past two games.”
–Field Level Media