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HOU@NYM: Dickey dominates Astros, records RBI in win

Despite recent downplays on the importance of victories, they remain a major factor in determining the winner of the Cy Young Award. On Friday night in Miami, the Marlins try to keep Mets hopeful R.A. Dickey from reaching win No. 17.

Based on how things have gone, they may have a tough go of it.

Dickey has won all three of his starts against Miami this season, allowing a total of just four runs. Dickey delivered a complete-game, one-run effort against the Marlins on Aug. 9, striking out 10.

Miami sends Nathan Eovaldi to the hill for his fourth start against New York this season, though two came when he was a member of the Dodgers.

Eovaldi has been inconsistent -- his 4-9 record and 4.54 ERA are indicative of that -- but he has had some success against the Mets.

Eovaldi gave up five earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in his first meeting with New York on June 30, but his last two starts against the Mets -- on July 22 as a Dodger and Aug. 8 as a Marlin -- he allowed just one combined run over 9 1/3 innings.

At just 22 years old, Eovaldi is one of the youngest starters in the Majors, and some of his inconsistencies this year stem from a lack of experience. But despite the Marlins' record, September could be considered crunch time for Eovaldi, who has a good chance to earn a spot in next year's rotation.

"You always try to make a good impression," Eovaldi said. "I know the spots [in the rotation] aren't officially taken yet, so I know I have a chance. It's really just going out there and competing and doing the best I can."

"He's just learning about himself and learning about his pitches still," catcher John Buck said. "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,' that he goes back to the learning table and tightens up his game a little bit."

Marlins: Stanton more than just slugger
Giancarlo Stanton's offensive numbers speak for themselves -- his 29 home runs and .291 batting average show his offensive potential. When it comes to his defense, his manager and teammates do the talking.

"The thing I like about Giancarlo is, when you're a home run hitter and a great hitter, sometimes you forget to play defense," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But this kid goes out there and ... he's been making some of the best plays we've had all year long out in right field."

On Tuesday, Stanton made a diving catch in shallow right field in the third inning to rob Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki of a base hit, preserving what would ultimately be right-hander Ricky Nolasco's third career shutout.

"He's a complete player," Nolasco said. "Everybody is obviously aware of his talents offensively, but there are things people don't see. He's putting in the time and work to be an all-around good player, and his defense, it showed [Tuesday]. He made some really good plays out there."

Mets: Harvey nearing innings limit
At this rate, Matt Harvey's season will come to an end in mid-September.

Harvey's 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday night ultimately earned the Mets their fourth straight victory, but pushed the rookie to the predetermined innings limit the team set for him earlier this year. The Mets announced Thursday he will make his next start on turn.

Harvey has now logged 152 1/3 innings between the Majors and Triple-A -- general manager Sandy Alderson pegged his innings limit at 165-170 for 2012.

"I've had a lot of conversations with Matt, and he feels great," manager Terry Collins said. "One of the things about the Minor Leagues is they monitor your workload a lot. They really keep an eye on it. They don't stretch it out, and that's just the way the game is. It's changed at the Minor League level a lot, too. These guys are kept under control of their work, how much they throw. So I think there's probably some innings left in Matt, and that's why he feels so good. But I also know pitching in the big leagues has brought some energy to him, too."

Despite the team's plans to continue with a six-man rotation, Harvey will certainly reach the limit before season's end. He logged 135 2/3 innings last season in the Minors -- the reason the limit was set this year.

Worth noting
• Donovan Solano extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his three-hit performance on Wednesday night, his fifth multihit performance during that span. Solano has raised his batting average from .250 on Aug. 16 to its current mark of .299.

• The Mets have won four of their last five. Comments