The New York Mets appear to be getting comfortable at home following a rough start to the season and can thank their pitching staff for much of that success. The Mets, who continue their three-game weekend series with the Miami Marlins on Saturday, improved to 12-6 over their last 18 contests at Citi Field with a series-opening 7-1 victory to reach the .500 mark at home (23-23). The win was the fifth in the last six games for New York, a stretch during which the rotation has posted a 1.29 ERA.
The Mets' bats have hardly taken a back seat to the pitching, hitting eight homers and averaging 5.3 runs over the same span. Conversely, the Marlins' offense was held to two or fewer runs for the third time in four games and saw their 10-game winning streak in games started by pitcher Henderson Alvarez halted in the opener. Since Miami swept New York at home from May 5-7, the Marlins have dropped four of the next five to the Mets and have scored fewer than two runs four times in the teams' last six meetings.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), WPIX (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.98 ERA) vs. Mets RH Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.32)
Koehler endured one of the worst starts of his career, giving up seven runs and eight hits over three-plus innings in Monday's 9-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The New York native, who is 2-4 with a 5.51 ERA in nine road turns, entered his last outing having yielded a total of four runs over his previous three starts - spanning 19 innings. Koehler gave up two of those four runs in a 4-0 setback versus the Mets on June 21, dropping him to 1-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 career appearances (seven starts) against New York.
After getting roughed up for five runs in each of his previous two outings, Matsuzaka worked seven scoreless frames but did not factor into the decision in Monday's 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. The 33-year-old, who could be pitching for his spot in the rotation with Jonathon Niese expected to return after the All-Star break, allowed six hits and walked a pair. Matsuzaka fell to 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in five all-time appearances (three starts) versus the Marlins after he permitted a run in 5 1/3 innings en route to a loss at Miami on June 20.
1. Mets 3B David Wright, who posted his 19th career four-hit game on Friday, is batting .452 with two homers and nine RBIs in 11 games against Miami this season.
2. The Marlins are 2-for-30 with runners in scoring position over their last four contests.
3. New York 2B Daniel Murphy and Miami 3B Casey McGehee are tied with the San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence for the National League lead in hits (113).
PREDICTION: Mets 6, Marlins 3