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Marlins look to continue roll vs. Mets

NEW YORK -- The goal for the Miami Marlins down the stretch is a more tangible and harder to achieve one than the objective identified by the New York Mets. But regardless of whether or not they climb back to .500 and inch into the National League wild-card race, the Marlins are far likely to enjoy a smoother ride than the dismantled Mets.

The Marlins will look to take another step closer to .500 on Saturday night, when they visit the Mets in the middle game of a three-game series at Citi Field. Miami's Vance Worley (2-2, 4.97 ERA) is scheduled to oppose New York's Rafael Montero (1-8, 5.80 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

The Marlins earned their sixth win in the last seven games Friday by edging the Mets, 3-1, to improve to 59-61 -- the closest they have been to .500 since May 3. With a victory Saturday, Miami will be one game under .500 for the first time since May 1.

In addition, the Marlins are seven games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the race for the second National League wild card, though they have two other teams to climb over in the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.

"Just try to keep the emphasis on trying to win series," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Keep marching down the road. Obviously, we've got to get back to .500 before anything can happen. (Would) be good to be able to get there."

Getting to .500 won't happen again this season for the Mets (53-67), whose fifth straight loss was overshadowed by a postgame trade in which New York dealt outfielder Curtis Granderson and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Granderson is the fifth veteran dealt away since July 27 by the Mets, who reached the World Series in 2015 and the NL wild-card game in 2016 but are 14 games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season.

A full youth movement is underway for New York, whose lineup the rest of the season is likely to regularly include rookies Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.

"This is hard for these guys," Mets manager Terry Collins said shortly before the Granderson trade was officially announced. "We came in and we started spring training with tremendous expectations, and they all had them themselves, too. To all of a sudden look around and have new people everywhere, I think it's a little bit of a culture shock for some of our guys."

Another youngster with more on his plate down the stretch than the Mets might have anticipated is Montero, the 26-year-old right-hander who has been pressed into the rotation due to injuries to stars such as Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard. Montero, who hasn't won since June 25, didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start Monday night, when he gave up two runs over six innings in the Mets' 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees. He is 0-4 with a 5.95 ERA in his last eight games (seven starts).

Worley didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start last Sunday, when he allowed three runs over four innings in the Marlins' 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. The no-decision ended a two-start winning streak for Worley, who allowed just one run in 13 innings during consecutive victories over the Washington Nationals.

Montero is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 10 career appearances (three starts) against the Marlins. Worley is 4-4 with a 5.59 ERA in 13 career appearances (nine starts) against the Mets.

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