The New York Mets just missed matching their longest win streak of the season. Having R.A. Dickey on the mound against the Miami Marlins might help them start another run.
Dickey can move into a tie for the major league wins lead by continuing his dominance over the Marlins on Friday night.
New York (61-70) had won four in a row before a 3-2 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday. Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston hit solo homers in the first two innings but the Mets couldn't push across another run.
They might bounce back quickly with Dickey (16-4, 2.76 ERA) getting the chance to face the Marlins. The knuckleballer is 6-0 with a 0.86 ERA over his last six starts against Miami, including 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three this season, He gave up one run and struck out 10 during a complete-game victory over the Marlins (59-72) on Aug. 9.
Dickey is also 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his last three visits to Miami. He enters this start having given up one run over seven innings in each of his last two outings, showing few signs of wilting in the season's dog days. With another win over the Marlins, he will match Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto for the major league lead with 17. Fellow 16-game winner Gio Gonzalez of Washington is also scheduled to pitch Friday.
"We think this guy's invincible," manager Terry Collins told the Mets' official website. "He's starting to get as run down as anybody else. So we've got to keep an eye on him."
Dickey will be opposed by Nathan Eovaldi (4-9, 4.54), who has a 0.96 ERA over his last two starts against the Mets. He overcame a career-worst six walks over five innings in a 13-0 victory at New York on Aug. 8.
Eovaldi has a much rougher last Friday, getting tagged for six runs over three innings of an 11-4 loss to his former team, the Dodgers. The right-hander was acquired from Los Angeles on July 25 in a four-player deal that sent All-Star Hanley Ramirez to Los Angeles.
"He's just learning about himself and learning about his pitches still," catcher John Buck told the Marlins' official website. "He's the type of kid that every time it's a bad outing, it's almost a good thing, because he's so like, 'I'm going to fix this, I'm going to get this right.'"
Miami has lost five of seven, but Giancarlo Stanton has eight homers and 16 RBIs in his last 13 games. He's 11 for 21 (.524) with three homers and 10 RBIs over his last five contests against the Mets, but is 3 for 13 (.231) without a home run off Dickey.
Former New York shortstop Jose Reyes is batting .329 over his last 38 games after hitting .264 in his first 91 with the Marlins.
He's 8 for 22 (.364) in his last six matchups with the Mets, but 2 for 16 (.125) against Dickey. He had a career-high 26-game hit streak halted by the knuckleballer Aug. 9.
Reyes' former partner on the left side of the Mets' infield, David Wright, is batting .432 (16 for 37) during a nine-game hitting streak against Miami.