The Miami Marlins don’t know what they’re going to get out of prospect Sixto Sanchez in his second major league start Thursday night, but they’re eager to see it, whatever it is.
The New York Mets? They don’t know who they’re going to pitch.
Sanchez is looking to help the visiting Marlins to a series win Thursday night, when he’s scheduled to take the mound in the finale of a four-game set between the National League East rivals.
The Mets will be looking for a split after earning an eventful 5-4 win Wednesday night. Two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom allowed one run and tied a career-high with 14 strikeouts but New York’s bullpen squandered a 4-1 lead in the top of the eighth before Wilson Ramos delivered the tie-breaking RBI single in the bottom half.
While the Mets have a hard time rewarding deGrom for his efforts — he has pitched at least seven innings, allowed one run or fewer and not gotten the victory 22 times, the most in baseball since his debut in 2014 — Ramos’ hit at least ensured they’d win on the night their only reliable starting pitcher took the mound.
DeGrom has a 1.80 ERA in his six starts. The ERA of the Mets’ starters in their other 23 games: A decidedly more robust 6.16. So New York’s not just playing gamesmanship by not announcing a starter for Thursday night’s game.
“We’re still in a day-to-day approach,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said Wednesday afternoon.
The two most likely candidates to start Thursday are left-hander Steven Matz, who was demoted to the bullpen last week but has yet to make a relief appearance because the Mets had five games postponed when a player and coach tested positive for the coronavirus, and right-hander Robert Gsellman, who moved from the bullpen to the rotation earlier this month.
Matz hasn’t pitched since Aug. 15 while Gsellman hasn’t appeared in a game since Aug. 17. The duo have combined to allow 27 runs in 26 2/3 innings over seven starts, though the Mets won both of Gsellman’s starts and are 0-5 in Matz’s outings.
Sanchez (1-0, 5.40 ERA) offers a decidedly more intriguing unknown for the Marlins. The franchise’s top prospect made his big league debut last Saturday and earned the win after allowing three runs over five innings as Miami beat the Washington Nationals, 5-3.
The 22-year-old averaged 98.5 mph with his fastball and hit triple digits five times. He was pulled after throwing 66 pitches in the nightcap of a doubleheader, but with a traditional nine-inning game scheduled Thursday, manager Don Mattingly said he’d like to see Sanchez pitch deeper against the Mets.
“He is built up physically to pitch,” Mattingly said Wednesday afternoon. “For him to go 90 pitches to 100 pitches, he has to pitch (well) at the end of the game and for us to be in the game. He dictates how far he can go.”
–Field Level Media