Last month was the New York Mets’ winningest of the season, and much of that success came on the road.
The Mets kick off what they hope is another fruitful trip – this time a season-high 10-gamer – when they face a team they swept on the road in August. They’ll also start Jacob deGrom, who will seek to add to his dominance over the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
New York (74-59) enters its lengthy trek with a sizable lead over Washington in the NL East thanks in part to its 20-8 record in August. The Mets, who begin next week with three matchups in the nation’s capital, won 12 of 15 away from home last month after previously being 17-32.
They went 8-1 on their most recent trip Aug. 18-27 behind Yoenis Cespedes’ six homers and 15 RBIs. They begin this one looking to duplicate a three-game sweep in Miami from Aug. 3-5, when they battered Marlins pitchers for 25 runs and 39 hits.
Another successful trek could go a long way toward the first playoff berth since 2006 for New York, which has endured six straight losing seasons since suffering late-season collapses in 2007 and 2008.
"There’s still a long time to go. I know as well as anybody that nothing is safe. Until it happens, anything can happen," captain David Wright said. "I mean, you probably ask the majority of guys in here, they probably have no idea about that. So I don’t think about it. I’ve learned from it, but I don’t think about it."
DeGrom (12-7, 2.32 ERA) facing the Marlins (55-79) is perhaps the closest thing to a safe bet as he’s 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five lifetime matchups. In the only one this season, he pitched seven scoreless innings, walked none and fanned eight in a 5-4 win April 18.
The right-hander gave up two runs in six innings and struck out 10 in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Boston. New York had won each of his previous eight starts.
The one-run output was uncharacteristic for the Mets, who have plated an MLB-best 103 since Aug. 21 while batting .315 in 13 games. Cespedes hit his second homer in as many days and 10th in 30 games with New York in Wednesday’s 9-4 win over Philadelphia.
Like Cespedes, leadoff man Curtis Granderson has keyed the turnaround away from Citi Field with a .352 average and 23 runs in 20 road games since the All-Star break.
The Mets, 9-4 against Miami this season, now get another chance to feast on Tom Koehler (8-13, 4.12). The right-hander is 0-2 with a 14.73 ERA in three games against the Mets this season, most recently getting charged with seven runs in 4 1-3 innings in a 12-1 loss Aug. 3.
Koehler has lost a team-record seven consecutive starts with a 6.81 ERA after allowing five runs in six innings Saturday in a 5-1 loss in Washington.
"I don’t know if the results are kind of equal to how I’m throwing right now," he said. "The calendar’s going to turn to a new month, which I’m definitely looking forward to."
The Marlins hoped to get Giancarlo Stanton off the disabled list this weekend, but his status is unclear after the slugger experienced discomfort during a rehab assignment. Stanton has been out since June 26 because of a broken bone in his right wrist.
Daniel Murphy’s status is unknown because of a quad injury suffered Wednesday.
Fellow Mets infielder Ruben Tejada homered and drove in four runs, and he’s 10 for 20 in his past six against Miami. Cespedes is batting .367 in six career matchups after going 6 for 15 with five RBIs in last month’s series. Tejada and Cespedes are a combined 5 for 7 with four doubles off Koehler this year.
Dee Gordon is batting .457 during an 11-game hitting streak versus the Mets and is 3 for 3 this season against deGrom.