NEW YORK — The Miami Marlins have scored 15 runs in the last two games, but manager Don Mattingly wasn’t filled with anticipation late Saturday night regarding Sunday’s series finale against the New York Mets.
“Anytime you’ve got (Noah) Syndergaard out there, you’re not really that excited about it,” Mattingly said with a grin.
The Mets’ right-handed ace is the only thing standing between the Marlins and a series sweep, which Miami will try to attain when the two teams square off at Citi Field.
The Marlins cruised to an 8-1 win Saturday, when left-hander Adam Conley combined with four relievers on a three-hitter and Marcell Ozuna, Miguel Rojas and J.T. Realmuto had two RBIs apiece.
Conley and fellow southpaw Wei-Yin Chen have combined to allow just two runs over 11 innings in the first two games of the series. The Marlins’ Opening Day starter, right-hander Edinson Volquez, will try to make it three straight gems when he opposes Syndergaard.
In his Marlins’ debut on Monday, Volquez tossed five shutout innings but didn’t factor into the decision as Miami fell to the Washington Nationals, 4-2.
“Volvy’s’ going to be aggressive and that’s what he is,” Mattingly said. “He’s itched in big games and big situations. Keep us close and give us a shot.”
Syndergaard’s ability to put up zeroes — he threw six shutout innings on Monday but didn’t factor into the decision after exiting with a blister on his right middle finger in the Mets’ 6-0 win over the Atlanta Braves — might be the best thing for an anemic Mets offense, which has scored two runs or fewer three times in five games.
“We’re just collectively not swinging it as well as we know we can,” Mets second baseman Neil Walker said Saturday night. “These last two days obviously haven’t been great days for a lot of us, but you just keep pushing forward.”
The cold weather hasn’t helped New York’s all-or-nothing lineup that features five players who have recorded at least one 20-homer season. The Mets have just four homers this season, including three solo shots, and only Yoenis Cespedes — who has one homer and four fly outs to the warning track that likely would have been homers in warmer weather — has been hitting the ball with consistent authority.
“I’m not seeing any hits,” Mets manager Terry Collins said Saturday night. “The approach is what it’s always been. We’ve said may times before, this team is built on power. ‘Ces’ ought to have five or six home runs by now. The elements are playing havoc with him, but we’ve got to get some other guys going because we’re a better offensive team than this and you’re not going to ride one guy.”
Syndergaard is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins. Volquez is 3-5 with a 4.99 ERA in 10 regular-season starts against the Mets. He also had a 3.00 ERA in two starts for the Kansas City Royals against New York in the 2015 World Series, which the Royals won in five games.