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Mets, Marlins hit home stretch out of contention

MIAMI -- The New York Mets, who made the World Series in 2015 and reached the playoffs again in 2016, are concluding a miserable, injury-decimated season.

The Miami Marlins, who were 66-63 and just four games out of the National League wild-card playoff race on Aug. 27, have since fallen apart. Miami returns home with a 3-17 record in its past 20 games.

On Monday, the Marlins (69-80) will host the Mets (65-84) in a battle of teams that have been out of contention for a while and are playing with an eye toward 2018.

The Marlins have not played at Marlins Park since Sept. 6. After that, they played road series at the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, and they also had a home series against the Milwaukee Brewers moved to Wisconsin because of Hurricane Irma.

"It's not what anybody saw coming when we left Miami," Marlins pitcher Adam Conley told The Miami Herald.

Moving the Brewers series creates a very brief Marlins homestand -- just three games this week against the Mets.

The Monday pitching matchup will feature two veteran right-handers trying to get back above .500: Miami's Dan Straily (9-9, 4.24 ERA) and New York's Matt Harvey (5-5, 6.14 ERA).

Harvey, 28, has seen his career disintegrate because of injuries. The seventh pick in the 2010 draft, Harvey was 24-18 with a sub-3.00 ERA in his first three years in the majors. However, he went 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 2016 and has been brutal this year.

He has three starts left this season but has yet to prove he deserves to return to the Mets in 2018. The team could decide to not tender his $6 million contract for next year.

"It's hard to take any positives out of the past two years," Harvey said after allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings Wednesday in an embarrassing 17-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs. "I'm extremely frustrated."

Straily has had his own issues this year. He went 7-4 with a 3.31 ERA in the first half but is just 2-5 with a 5.74 ERA since then. He has an 8.44 ERA in three September starts.

The good news for Straily is that his home ERA (3.27) is much better than his road work (5.19), with 15 starts in each category.

Straily has given up 28 homers this year, including 18 against right-handed batters. However, he has been good against the Mets in two starts this year, posting a 1.74 ERA in two no-decisions.

Harvey has an even worse homer rate, allowing 17 long balls in 16 starts, including 10 against left-handed batters. He has been equally bad at home or on the road. And his ERA has gone up every month of this season: 4.20 in April, 5.74 in May, 6.43 in June and 12.19 in three September starts after missing July because of injury.

Virtually across the board, Harvey's numbers this year are the worst of his career, including his ERA, WHIP (1.574), homers per nine innings (1.9) and walks (4.5). His 6.7 strikeouts per nine are also a career low, although his fastball velocity has reportedly ticked up lately.

Against the Marlins this year, Harvey is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one start, lasting six innings.

Harvey would love a repeat of those numbers on Monday, especially with all the adjustments he has been trying to make of late.

"It's hard going out there and not helping your team," Harvey said. "There's a lot of work going on that is not paying off. But I have three starts just to be better."

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