The Marlins led the division for most of the year, but in the 20th anniversary season of their historic collapse, the Mets turn the tables and force a one game playoff on the last day of the season. Run scoring is likely going to come at a premium in this game, as both teams have struggled with run scoring this season but finished in the top 5 in runs allowed.
Marlins' Run Scoring vs. Mets' Run Prevention
More than likely, it will be Will Ferrell taking the bump for the Mets. Ferrell struck out 200 batters this season, allowing 69 BB, posting a 43 VORP season. Ferrell has been helped by a very good defense, which sports a blue defender at every positition but 1B. Curiously, the Mets are running Vincent Provenzano in LF and Yoennis Cespedes in CF, despite the former being 16 points better in CF. Now, Provenzano has an absolutely noodle arm and is a bit more error prone than Cespedes, so perhaps the trade off in range is worth the consistency and superior ability to the control the run game. Even more curious is the fact that Clancy Dodd is manning 1B this game, who has a total rating of 9 at 1B. That may not be as much of a factor as it could be with Ferrell on the mound, however, as he has a 36% GB rate.
Even with such a deficiency at 1B defensively, it's not likely that the Marlins are going to score a lot of runs against the Mets. The Marlins finished the year 15th in runs scored this season. 7 of the hitters in the Marlins' lineup have an OBP less than .330, and two of those have an OBP of less than .300. The deadline acquisition of Bartolo Negron has helped, particularly against LHP, but by and large this is a very weak lineup.
One thing to be aware of for both the Marlins and Mets could be the speed and skill of the Marlins' runners on the bases. The Marlins have speed up and down their lineup, particularly leadoff hitter Chad Larson (94 SB rating, 17 SB) and Negron (97 SB rating, 20 SB). With such a terrible defensive 1B, and Ferrell being merely above average at holding runners, it will be interesting to see if the Marlins can exploit the Mets on the bases. Isaac Steele has a cannon of an arm, though, throwing out 43% of would-be base stealers this season. The Marlins' running game could be the key to the game.
Mets' Offense vs. Marlins' Run Prevention
At this point, it's unclear whether PL is going to start his nominal ace, Bruce Leflore on short rest, or Daisuke Kaneko on full rest. LeFlore has the better stats and peripherals, sporting a 3.20 ERA and 177 K to 53 BB, but he got rocked in his last start two days ago, failing to get through 3 innings, which is why he's theoretically available to pitch. Kaneko isn't far behind in terms of actual production, with a 3.75 ERA and 154 K to 48 BB, but he has better command of the strike zone a better GB rate.
That GB rate is important, because while most of Florida's position players probably couldn't make contact with a basketball, all of them are elite defenders. Florida runs out probably the best overall defense in the majors, particularly in the infield. From 3B to 1B, the ratings for Florida's defense are 85, 145, 113, and 184. It's safe to say that the infield for the Marlins is where ground balls go to die.
The Mets' lineup is very top heavy. The front 5 hitters are as good as any other in either league, with Provenzano, Munoz, Dodd, Cespedes, and Musial all sporting healthy scouting talents. There has been a lack of power for Cespedes, but otherwise the hitters' performance seems to match what the scouts say about them. The real problem for the Mets is the bottom of their lineup. George Bush and Isaac Steele are clearly glove first players at traditionally less impactful offensive positions, but Bush put up an ugly .280 OBP and Steele put up a .310 line. The immortal Franciso Pena had a productive season, however.
Prediction: Marlins hold onto their division crown and sneak into the playoffs in a low scoring affair. The Marlins swept the Mets in their only series in the month of September by a margin of 10-2. Given the wonky infield configuration for the Mets, combined with the superior infield defense for the Marlins, look for that to continue, regardless of who takes the bump for the Fish.