Blazing starters: Jose, Thor ready to bring the heat
Two flame-throwers will start Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game of the Marlins-Mets' three-game series: Miami's Jose Fernandez and New York's Noah Syndergaard. With the velocity both pitchers can bring, there will be plenty of scoreboard watching to see how fast each one is throwing.
You might see a few 100-mph fastballs, and certainly plenty of upper-90 readings.
Syndergaard's sinker, according to Statcast™, averages a whopping 98.58 mph, which is remarkable when you consider the league average is 92.61 mph. Fernandez counters with a four-seam fastball average of 96.67 mph, more than 4 mph higher than the MLB average of 92.61.
Fernandez will be well rested, as he makes his second start six days after his season debut, when he struck out 13 batters in 5 2/3 innings. However, the 23-year-old right-hander lost that game to the Tigers, which snapped his MLB-record streak of 17 consecutive wins at home to begin his career. Lifetime on the road, Fernandez has been less dominant: 5-9 with a 3.78 ERA in 21 starts.
"I would say his stuff is good and it's going to play everywhere," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "There's no reason that he can't pitch the same on the road. His stuff is good, no matter if he's home or away."
Syndergaard is making his second start after throwing six shutout innings at Kansas City, while fanning nine batters in a win, seven days ago.
"It's never fun when you've got to go face those guys, but it's a great challenge," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And that's what these guys do. That's why we play this game is to go out and compete against the best. It will be fun to see."
Three things you need to know about this game
• Mattingly, who wants to get his bench players some time, hinted that some lineup shuffling could take place in the final two games of the series. Catcher Jeff Mathis, who has worked well in the past with Fernandez, is a possible candidate to start. Justin Bour didn't start at first on Monday against lefty Steven Matz, with Chris Johnson getting the nod. Bour should be back Tuesday.
• Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom left the team Monday to join his wife, who was in labor with the couple's first child. The Mets do not anticipate placing deGrom on paternity leave and adding a 26th player to their roster -- at least not unless something happens over the next game or two to precipitate the need. Placing him on MLB's paternity leave list would forfeit the Mets' ability to backdate a potential disabled list stint, should deGrom's right lat injury linger.
• Since the start of Spring Training, Mattingly has basically stuck with his same batting order, with the top four being Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton. Ozuna has come out of the gate slowly, but Mattingly isn't eager to make a change - just yet.
"You just kind of see, and let guys get going, and we'll see where everything goes," Mattingly said. "Obviously, you just don't stay with something because that's the way you started it. You try to put everybody in the best position. For right now, I don't plan on making any major changes with it. Marcell hasn't gotten off to a great start, but I have confidence in what he can do."