The Miami Marlins wrap up a nine-game roadtrip with a weekend series against the division rival New York Mets before heading into the All-Star break.
Miami (44-47) would need a sweep to get back to .500 for the first time since June 25. The Marlins currently find themselves 5 1/2 games back of the Washington Nationals in the National League East after losing two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets (42-50) are eight games behind despite winning four of the past five, including three against the Atlanta Braves.
Two weeks ago in Miami, the Mets took three of four. In April, the Marlins were swept in three games at Citi Field. The clubs have split the first 10 matchups this season.
Right-hander Henderson Alvarez gets the nod in the opener. Miami has won 10 straight games he has started, which is a franchise record. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in nine straight starts, easily making him the ace of the rotation with Jose Fernandez out. Righty Zack Wheeler tossed his first complete game shutout in a June 19 1-0 win over the Marlins. He scattered three hits and struck out eight.
Righty Tom Koehler comes off a career-worst outing, surrendering seven runs in three-plus innings. He had given up just four runs in 19 frames prior to the start. Koehler took the loss on June 21 against the Mets when he gave up just two runs on four hits in seven frames. Righty Daisuke Matsuzaka went a season-long seven innings against the Braves earlier this week. Last month in Miami, he was handed the loss despite permitting just one run in 5 1/3.
Southpaw Brad Hand will close out the first half for the Marlins following a strong start in Arizona when he allowed an unearned run in 6 1/3. He has not won a start since 2011. Righty Jacob deGrom pitched seven scoreless with 11 strikeouts against the Braves. In Miami, he shut down the Marlins for seven frames for one of his seven quality starts.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Marlins-Mets series…
CF Marcell Ozuna (Marlins): Ozuna is riding a season-high 15-game hitting streak. During that span, he is batting .368 with four doubles, three homers and eight RBI. His two-strike, two-out, two-run homer on Tuesday in the ninth gave the Marlins a 2-1 comeback win.
1B Lucas Duda (Mets): Since his average dropped to .248 on July 2, Duda has gone 7 for 18 (.389) with a homer, four runs, five RBI and seven walks to bump it back up to .257. He has driven in a run in three of the past five games.
RF Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins): Sure, Stanton still leads the NL in homers (21) and RBI (63), but others are gaining ground. He is hitting .158 over his past 10 games with just two RBI and no dingers. Stanton went hitless in 11 at-bats against the Diamondbacks with six strikeouts and a walk.
RF Bobby Abreu (Mets): Abreu sat two of the four games against the Braves. He is batting .188 in his past 10 games with two runs, no homers and just two RBI. He does not have a multi-hit game since June 13.
112: Hits for Casey McGehee, which leads the NL. Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy ranks second with 109.
.333: Average in 17 games for Marcell Ozuna against the Mets
62: First-inning runs for the Mets, best in the majors
0.96: ERA for righty Zack Wheeler in four starts against the Marlins
"That’s a tough one to swallow. That’s definitely one you got to have after coming back and the at-bats that we had there in the 10th." — Manager Mike Redmond, to reporters in Arizona, about dropping the series on a blown save
"It’s been a consistency thing lately. I felt good for a couple outings where I feel like I can hit a fly on the butt, stick that slot right there. Today, I felt like I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a boat." –– Closer Steve Cishek, to reporters in Arizona, on his recent struggles