Miami (78-65) at New York (62-80)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 91° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Mon Sep 8, 2003
  • TV: FSFL, FSNY
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After beating the heat in Puerto Rico and remaining in the thick of the NL wild-card race, the Florida Marlins hope Josh Beckett is ready to build on one of his best performances of the season.

Beckett will take the mound for the playoff-hopeful Marlins as they open a three-game series with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.

Florida opened an important six-game road trip by taking two of three from Montreal in Puerto Rico. On Sunday, rookie Dontrelle Willis pitched through temperatures that reached 153 degrees on Hiram Bithorn Stadium’s artificial turf, helping the Marlins to a 3-1 victory over the Expos.

With the successful weekend, Florida dropped Montreal seven games out of the wild-card race and remained within one game of Philadelphia in the hunt for the NL playoff spot.

Beckett will try to keep that momentum going. He yielded three hits over seven brilliant innings Wednesday, striking out seven and walking five as Montreal blanked Pittsburgh 3-0.

Plagued by inconsistency for most of the season, Beckett knows the importance of winning in September.

“We have to keep pace or pass the pace. We just want to keep rolling,” he said.

A victory Monday would match the Marlins’ win total from last season, when they finished 79-83.

The Mets didn’t do the Marlins any favors over the weekend, getting swept in four straight at Philadelphia following Sunday’s 5-4, 11-inning loss.

Ty Wigginton drove in two runs and Mike Piazza and Raul Gonzalez added an RBI apiece for New York, which has lost seven of its last 10 overall.

Wigginton, who finished 4-for-4, hadn’t driven in a run since Aug. 22 at Los Angeles, a 13-game drought.

The rookie third baseman is batting .364 (16-for-44) in 13 games against Florida this season with three homers and seven RBIs.

The Mets have won 10 of their last 13 home games.

STANDINGS: Marlins - 3rd place, 12 GB, NL East. Mets - 5th place, 27 1/2 GB, NL East.

MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Beckett (7-7, 3.13 ERA). Beckett is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.

METS PROBABLE STARTER: Steve Trachsel (14-8, 3.95 ERA). New York’s most reliable starter this season, Trachsel is coming off another strong performance. The veteran right-hander yielded one run and five hits over eight innings in Wednesday’s 9-3 victory over Atlanta. Trachsel has won five of his last six starts, surrendering two earned runs or fewer in four of those outings. He is 7-9 with a 3.40 ERA in 21 career starts against Florida.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .325 avg. and 91 runs; Mike Lowell, 32 HRs and 105 RBIs; Juan Pierre, 58 SBs. Mets - Roger Cedeno, .272 avg.; Cliff Floyd, 18 HRs and 68 RBIs; Wigginton, 67 runs; Jose Reyes and Cedeno, 13 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 7-6.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - RHP Beckett, 0-4 in his last seven road starts, hasn’t won away from Pro Player Stadium since a 17-1 rout at Atlanta on April 5. … 2B Castillo has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 (.375). … C Ivan Rodriguez is batting .324 (11-for-34) during a nine-game hitting streak. Mets - RHP Trachsel, who is 9-1 on the road this year, is just 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts at Shea. … LF Gonzalez is batting .300 (6-for-20) with three doubles, a triple and two RBIs over his last six games. … C Piazza has just two RBIs over his last 10 games, batting .125 (4-for-32) over the span.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 32-39 on the road; Mets - 32-38 at home.

INJURIES: Marlins - 3B Lowell (thumb), 15-day DL; LHP Armando Almanza (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendix), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 60-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 60-day DL. Mets - SS Reyes (ankle), out for year; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; OF Floyd (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Beckett LAD vs. S. Trachsel Bal
9-8 Record 16-10
3.04 ERA 3.78
152 K 111
56 BB 65
1.32 WHIP 1.31