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5 things to watch as Mets host Marlins in three-game series at Citi Field

The Mets came home from London with a two-game split, and they'll look to carry the momentum from Sunday's win into their three-game series with the Miami Marlins, which begins on Tuesday night.

Here are five things to watch as the NL East foes go toe-to-toe...


Diaz and Alvarez returning?

The Mets could potentially be getting two huge pieces back as this series begins. Edwin Diaz, after throwing back-to-back scoreless appearances with High-A Brooklyn, said on Sunday that he feels "100 percent ready" and seems fully recovered from the shoulder impingement that landed him on the IL. Diaz is eligible to return to the Mets' bullpen as soon as Tuesday.

As for Francisco Alvarez, there was a thought that his return may be a bit delayed because he had to fly home to Venezuela for a family matter, but he was back in the Cylones' lineup on Sunday and caught all nine innings. Alvarez told The Athletic that he's "ready to go play," but time will tell if the Mets want to give him more time to rehab. When Alvarez does come back from the IL, he will need to wear a splint on his surgically repaired left thumb.

Megill, Peterson, Severino lined up

The Mets have the current strongest part of their rotation lined up to face Miami. Tylor Megill has been very good in his four stars this season, including 7.0 innings of shutout ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 28. He wasn't quite as sharp his last time out when he allowed four earned runs in 5.0 innings against the Washington Nationals, but he's posted a strong 3.00 ERA so far this season.

David Peterson's sample size is even smaller, having started just two games since coming back from offseason hip surgery, but he allowed just two runs in 6.2 innings his last time out and has an ERA of 3.09.

As for Luis Severino, he's been the Mets' most consistent starter all season long, and he's coming off 8.0 innings of one-run ball against the Nats.

Two lefties on the bump, so what about Jeff McNeil?

The Mets have faced a caravan of left-handed pitching lately, and as a result, McNeil has started just two times since June 2, including a stretch of four straight games off.

McNeil was back in the lineup against righty Taijuan Walker on Sunday, and he responded in a big way with a pair of hits, helping lead the way as the Mets came back and won.

The Marlins will throw Jesus Luzardo and Braxton Garrett in the first two games, so does that mean Jose Iglesias will be back at second base for both of those games, or will Carlos Mendoza give McNeil a shot against a lefty starter?

[US, Mexico & Canada customers only] June 9, 2024; London, UNITED KINGDOM; New York Mets infielder Jeff McNeil forces out Philadelphia Phillies player Bryce Harper during a London Series baseball game at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Fish Reeling

To put it mildly, the Marlins are just not a very good team. They have just 22 wins on the season, which is the fewest in the National League and the second-fewest in baseball behind only the putrid Chicago White Sox.

The Marlins are 3-8 in their last 11 games, and they have already started selling off their pieces by sending Luis Arraez, their best hitter, to the San Diego Padres.

But with all that said, the Marlins took two of three from the Mets in Miami the first time they faced each other, including a game in which Diaz allowed four runs while only recording one out.

If the Mets truly want to get back into the postseason race, they have to take care of business against struggling teams like Miami.

Leadoff Lindor

Francisco Lindor was moved up to the leadoff spot on a permanent basis in mid-May, and it's paid huge dividends for the veteran shortstop.

In 21 games as a leadoff hitter this season, Lindor is slashing .307/.374/.489 with 12 runs scored, 11 RBI, 10 extra-base hits, and six walks.

The Mets' offense finally seems like it's starting to click, and it feels like that coincides with Lindor moving up to leadoff after he had hit just .235 as a three-hole hitter and .093 in the second spot in the lineup.