Penny, Marlins Aim To Make Ground In September
MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Entering the final month of the season, the goals are clear for the Miami Marlins.
Making the playoffs isn't an impossible feat but time is running out to start climbing the standings.
While it's going to be difficult for the Marlins to secure a wild-card spot, there's a good chance they can make up some ground in the race if their other 26 games in September are like their first one.
After taking advantage of some sloppy play by the New York Mets, the Marlins look to continue playing well at home Tuesday night in the middle contest of a three-game series between these NL East rivals.
Miami (67-69) won 9-6 on Monday, aided by six errors by the Mets, and moved within 5 1/2 games of Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot with the Brewers' 4-2 loss to the Cubs.
"Lot of good at-bats up and down the order," third baseman Casey McGehee, who drove in two runs, told MLB's official website. "That's what we're going to have to continue to do to have any kind of chance."
Mets starter Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48 ERA) has limited Miami's chances in his three career starts at Marlins Park. The left-hander didn't allow a run in his first 18 1-3 innings there before giving up three in the sixth in an 11-5 victory June 22.
Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI single in that inning, making him 9 for 24 (.375) with two home runs against Niese. Stanton hit his NL-leading 34th homer Monday and is one RBI away from having 100 in a season for the first time.
He's batting .370 in eight home games against the Mets (64-74) this season.
Niese enters this meeting with two wins in his last nine starts due in part to a lack of run support and some shoddy defense behind him. He has been backed by 17 runs over that span, and New York has committed six errors in his last three outings.
The Mets have made an MLB-worst 19 errors since Aug. 20. Monday was their first six-error game since April 27, 2012, at Colorado and the 10th with at least that many in franchise history.
"I think, all in all, we've played pretty good defense throughout the year," third baseman David Wright, who committed his 14th error, told MLB's official website.
"One game isn't going to tarnish that. At the same time, we can't expect to go out there and win and be successful when we play as sloppily as we did today."
Second baseman Dilson Herrera made two of the six errors, but he also hit his first career home run and triple. At 20 years old, Herrera is the youngest player in the majors.
"I have no excuses," Herrera said. "Errors are going to happen. You're going to make mistakes on errors here and there. I'm not perfect, but I'm also going to continue to work on it and get better - because that's a big part of my game."
Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40) will make his third start for Miami and first since Aug. 14, and he'll be facing the team that has handed him the most losses in his career.
The right-hander is 5-13 with a 6.25 ERA in 23 appearances against the Mets. His second-most losses have come to San Diego, which has defeated him eight times.
Wright is 12 for 20 with four homers when facing Penny, and he's batting .407 with 13 RBIs in 14 games against Miami this season.
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