The Florida Marlins are close to getting back to .500 for the first time since June, and it’s been success against their own division that has them on the verge of that mark.
Florida goes for its sixth straight win at Citi Field when it continues its series against the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
The Marlins (54-55) have won seven of nine after improving to 6-3 against the Mets (55-54) with a 7-3, 10-inning win Monday. Mike Stanton(notes) hit a grand slam in the 10th after New York’s Lucas Duda(notes) hit a two-run tying shot in the ninth.
The victory improved Florida to 7-3 during a string of 12 straight games against division rivals. Before this stretch, the Marlins were 13-19 against NL East foes, but they’ve won all three games at Citi Field this year and five in a row going back to last season.
Looking to build on that momentum, they’ll try to even their overall record for the first time since June 12, when they were 32-32 in the midst of a 1-19 stretch.
If Stanton continues his hot hitting, reaching .500 shouldn’t be a problem. Stanton is 9 for 24 with four homers against New York this year, and five of his 25 homers overall have come in his last 10 games.
The Mets have dropped three straight overall, scoring just five runs in that stretch after a red-hot offensive streak. Before the slump began, they had won five in a row while averaging 7.6 runs and hitting .321.
He and his Mets teammates will get their first look at rookie Brad Hand(notes) (1-3, 2.73 ERA), who struggled with control in his sixth start of the year Thursday. The left-hander walked six - one intentionally - and threw 72 pitches while lasting just 3 2-3 innings against Washington.
Hand limited the damage to one run alongside three hits in Florida’s 5-2 victory.
“I was missing just outside,” he said. “I was trying to get ahead in the count and probably pitching too fine.”
New York will counter with Chris Capuano(notes) (9-10, 4.51), who snapped a three-start losing streak despite giving up six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 10-9 win over Cincinnati on Thursday. He also had three walks and a wild pitch.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against the Marlins this year. On July 23, he allowed homers to Sanchez and Logan Morrison(notes) while squandering a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning of an 8-5 defeat.