NEW YORK METS (50-44, third place/NL East) at MIAMI MARLINS (52-43, second place/NL East)
MARLINS SHORT HOPS
Ichiro Suzuki is four hits shy of reaching 3,000 in the MLB portion of his career. He will become the 30th major leaguer to reach that plateau, and the fourth player born outside the 50 states, joining Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba) and Hall of Famers Rod Carew (Panama) and Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico).
Fernandez is 25-1 with a 1.43 ERA in 36 starts at Marlins Park. He has a 0.895 lifetime WHIP at the ballpark.
Second baseman Derek Dietrich had been in a 1-for-25 rut before a three-hit game on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies. He also was hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, setting the Marlins’ single-season record. Carlos Delgado was plunked 17 times in 2005, before getting traded to the Mets that November. Dietrich has been hit 48 times in his Marlins career, three shy of matching Alex Gonzalez's franchise record.
Dee Gordon, who was handed an 80-game suspension in April for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, is eligible to return next Thursday. Gordon began playing with Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday. He will be ineligible for the postseason if the Marlins qualify.
Christian Yelich matched his career high on Thursday with his ninth homer.
Realmuto has a team-leading 10 steals. He would become the first catcher to lead the Marlins in stolen bases in a season. No catcher has led his team in steals since Jason Kendall with the Oakland Athletics in 2006.
Closer A.J. Ramos has 31 saves, one shy of matching his career high. He has walked 21 in 40 innings.
Urena entered the rotation on Tuesday and allowed one run on four hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings at Philadelphia. The Marlins had used Justin Nicolino (2-5, 5.57 ERA) in the fifth-starter role before the All-Star break. Jarred Cosart had opened the season as the fifth starter. Urena produced a 7.52 ERA in 16 appearances out of the bullpen this season before a demotion to New Orleans.
METS SHORT HOPS
Verrett makes his third start since taking over for Matt Harvey, who had season-ending surgery on Monday in St. Louis to address thoracic outlet syndrome. The Mets could have used Thursday’s day off to skip Verrett, but elected to keep the rotation in order despite the magnitude of this series. Zack Wheeler, who should eventually take over that rotation spot, is to visit the Mets this weekend. He plans to throw a bullpen session on Friday for team officials at Marlins Park. Wheeler had Tommy John surgery in March 2015. He has not yet started a rehab assignment, so the best-case scenario is a late-August return to the majors.
Yoenis Cespedes has been playing with a strained right quadriceps and sat out Wednesday’s series finale against the Chicago Cubs. Manager Terry Collins is expected to limit Cespedes to left field and avoid having him play center field for the remainder of the season. That has left a void in center field against right-handed pitching, since Juan Lagares primarily starts against southpaws. Curtis Granderson started in center field at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, but the Mets are prepping Michael Conforto to play there for the first time in his professional career. Conforto rejoined the Mets on Monday in Chicago after a three-week demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Jose Reyes departed the Mets for the Marlins after the 2011 season for a six-year, $106 million contract. However, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays after only one season in Miami. He will be playing at Marlins Park for the first time since that lone season in Miami.
deGrom is 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in his past four starts.
Pitching with a bone spur in his pitching elbow that will need to be removed no later than this offseason, Matz is 0-5 with a 4.73 ERA in his past nine starts.