For only the second time this season, the Marlins will take the field with the chance to finish off a series sweep. Once again, their opponent is the Mets.
Miami will host New York on Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game set, having taken the first two to snap a nine-game skid. The Mets, who came to town having won five in a row, are the only team to sport a record below the .500 mark against the Marlins this season. They are 3-5 after Saturday's 8-1 defeat.
The Fish also had the chance to sweep the Mets at home on May 1, but lost, 7-6, to end their only three-game winning streak of the year. This time, they will send Kevin Slowey to the mound against Mets phenom Matt Harvey.
Slowey (1-5, 3.59 ERA) authored probably his finest outing of the season in an April 30 matchup with New York, allowing one run on four hits and striking out eight over eight innings. The veteran right-hander has hit a rough patch lately, giving up 16 earned runs on 32 hits in 18 innings over his last four outings.
Still, it's been a solid season for Slowey, who is second on the Marlins behind Ricky Nolasco with 62 2/3 innings pitched.
"Slowey's done a good job," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's a professional. He understands how to pitch and what he needs to do to be successful. He's given us a good effort every single time. He's given us a lot of chances to win. We just haven't scored for him."
Slowey suffered a lower left lat strain against the Phillies on May 22, but exited after five innings instead of trying to pitch through the injury. He made his next start against the Rays on Tuesday, giving up four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"I think his last start, he felt good and pitched great," Redmond said. "We just couldn't hold the lead for him."
Harvey (5-0, 1.85) actually endured one of his tougher outings against the Marlins, on April 29 in Miami. Although he gave up only one run, he lasted a season-low 5 1/3 innings while throwing a season-high 121 pitches.
The 24-year-old surrendered a season-high four runs on May 22 against the Reds, but bounced back in his Subway Series debut on Tuesday. Harvey held the Yankees to one run over eight innings, striking out 10 without a walk, although he took a no-decision.
Mets: A rare start for Valdespin
• Jordany Valdespin was in the starting lineup for the first time in 15 days, as he played right field and batted eighth on Saturday. He went 0-for-2 before he was replaced by pinch-hitter Marlon Byrd in the eighth inning.
Valdespin has not received much playing time since the Mets acquired Rick Ankiel, fighting a losing battle with Byrd and Mike Baxter to man right field. The left-handed hitter now sports a .209 average and .644 OPS for the season.
• Omar Quintanilla started at shortstop Saturday for the third consecutive day since joining the Mets, and he had his second straight multi-hit day out of the leadoff spot.
Marlins: Streak ends for Ozuna
Rookie outfielder Marcell Ozuna might not be happy to be done with the month of May. The 22-year-old hit .330 with an .834 OPS and 11 RBIs, finishing first or tied for first among rookies in hits (35), doubles (nine) and stolen bases (three).
Ozuna completed May carrying a 16-game hitting streak that was the longest active one in the Majors and the second longest by a rookie in Marlins history, behind Edgar Renteria's 22-gamer in 1996. It also was the longest by any Marlins player this year.
That ended on Saturday, when Ozuna went 0-for-3, although he did draw a walk and score a run.
• After this series, the teams will meet again for three more games next weekend at Citi Field.
• Harvey has made only four of his 11 starts on the road, posting a 1.63 ERA.