The New York Mets haven't generated much offense lately, but they haven't needed much while getting back-to-back gems from their starting pitchers.
New York (33-40) has scored 11 runs in its last six games and just four in back-to-back victories. The Mets had lost five in a row at Miami before Thursday's 1-0 victory behind Zach Wheeler's three-hit shutout. They were a night removed from Bartolo Colon yielding one run over eight innings in a 3-2 win at St. Louis.
David Wright accounted for the lone run with a first-inning homer off Andrew Heaney, who was making his big league debut. Wright had gone 18 straight games without a home run before hitting two in his last three games.
Miami (36-36) hasn't been lighting up the scoreboard either after a 1-0 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday. The Marlins were tied with Atlanta for first place after June 5, but have since gone 4-8.
"You've got to tip your cap to a guy who pitched a great game," said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was 1 for 3 in his first game since May 31 after he had been sidelined by a concussion.
The Marlins are hoping for a dominant outing of their own Friday from Alvarez (3-3, 2.56 ERA). Miami has won each of his last six starts, though he's just 1-0 in that span despite a 1.60 ERA.
Alvarez has yielded only two runs over 32 innings in his last four home starts, a stretch that started with a six-hit shutout of the Mets on May 6. He also gave up two runs over six innings in a 4-3 loss at New York on April 25, though he didn't factor into the decision.
He's 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last four against New York since allowing six runs and nine hits in his first matchup on May 20, 2012.
Wright is 5 for 13 against him.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-0, 2.81) takes the mound for New York, hoping to go much deeper than his last start when he was bothered by a severely upset stomach. He threw just one inning Sunday against San Diego, allowing no runs, but also logged a scoreless inning of relief in Tuesday's loss at St. Louis.
Matsuzaka failed to retire any of the five batters he faced while blowing a save opportunity in a 4-3 defeat in Miami on May 5.
Giancarlo Stanton rejoined the Marlins' lineup after exiting Wednesday's defeat with a bruised left wrist. The NL leader in home runs with 20, Stanton had gone deep three times in six games before going 0 for 3 and striking out twice Thursday.
Curtis Granderson, who is batting .160 in seven games versus Miami this season, is 3 for 19 against Alvarez with six strikeouts.
These teams have combined for just 26 runs in their last seven meetings at Marlins Park.