With a road win finally under their belts, the Miami Marlins now seek a string of victories as they close out a two-city, six-game trip.
Miami (10-12) dropped the rubber match against National League East-leading Atlanta on Wednesday, but the club had its chances to capture the series. In the finale, players failed to put down a sacrifice bunt three times in key situations. A mistake pitch to pinch-hitter Evan Gattis broke a tie game in the eighth.
After Thursday’s off day, the Marlins visit the New York Mets (12-10) at Citi Field over the weekend. Expected to contend for last in the division, the Mets have instead surprised many with a strong start. They have won four of their last five, including three against the 2013 NL champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Henderson Alvarez starts for the first time since his complete game two-hitter against the Seattle Mariners, while Zach Wheeler has kept his team in games with three quality outings. Kevin Slowey gets the nod for the second time in place of Brad Hand, who struggled in two starts since Jacob Turner landed on the disabled list. Jenrry Mejia looks to extend his scoreless-innings streak that currently sits at 13 2/3. Miami’s most consistent member of the rotation, Tom Koehler, pitches Sunday — as does Dillon Gee, who finished 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA against the Marlins in 2013.
Last season, Miami went 11-8 against New York for its only winning record against a division opponent.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Marlins-Mets series…
RHP Tom Koehler (Marlins): Koehler has opened the season with four straight quality starts, tossing at least six innings and allowing two runs or less. His 2.13 ERA ranks 18th in the National League among starters. In his last outing, he struck out a season-high eight batters in Atlanta.
2B Daniel Murphy (Mets): Murphy has hits in nine of his last 10 games, bumping his average to .291 for second best on the team. During that span he has struck out five times and walked once, while scoring eight times and driving in two runs.
SS Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins): The Atlanta series was tough on every Marlins hitter, but Hechavarria committed an error, was unable to put down a sac bunt and couldn’t grab a relay throw in the finale. He is just 1 for his last 12 at-bats with an RBI, one walk and six strikeouts over his past four games.
CF Curtis Granderson (Mets): New York’s key offseason signing bumped up his average on Thursday, but that’s not saying much. His .125 clip ranks as the lowest among Mets starters. Prior to hits in consecutive days he had gone without one over six straight games. In the past 10 games he has struck out 12 times with two walks, three RBI and no runs.
7: Quality starts for Marlins pitchers over the last eight games.
.244: Career average for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton in 49 games against the Mets. He has 12 homers and 30 RBI.
10: Steals for Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr., which ranks second in the National League.
103: RBI for Mets third baseman David Wright in his career against the Marlins, second most off any team. He also has 24 home runs (third most).