video thumbnail

NYM@MIA: Fernandez strikes out eight over seven

Two of baseball's best young arms will take the hill on Saturday in the series opener between the Marlins and Mets at Citi Field after Friday's game was rained out.

Miami will send Jose Fernandez to the mound fresh off seven scoreless innings in a win against New York last Saturday. He has dazzled, leading all Marlins starters who have at least five outings, with a 3.34 ERA and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Mets ace Matt Harvey toes the rubber five days after giving up 10 hits and four runs in five innings against the Marlins. The outing was Harvey's worst in what has been an exceptional year. He ranks seventh in the Majors with a 2.17 ERA and sixth with a 0.92 WHIP.

Both right-handers have shined early in their careers, garnering All-Star consideration for the National League's pitching staff at Citi Field on July 16.

But even though Harvey and Fernandez are new on the scene, their matchup has some mileage, as New York and Miami have played nine times this season.

Harvey and Fernandez pitched against each other on April 29, lasting 5 1/3 and four innings, respectively, in a 4-3 Marlins win.

Saturday's start marks Fernandez's fourth against the Mets. He has given up three runs in 16 innings, with 20 strikeouts. His first taste of MLB action came against New York, on April 7 at Citi Field, when he gave up one run on three hits and fanned eight in five innings.

"This has never happened to me before," Fernandez said of facing the Mets for the fourth time in 12 starts. "I'm really trying to go out there and stick to the game plan and make good pitches, and see how it goes. Hopefully, it will be a good day for us."

Harvey, meanwhile, has struggled against Miami, with his two outings against the Marlins the shortest in an otherwise stellar season.

He hopes his third start against the Marlins -- the only NL team with fewer than 200 runs scored -- will be the charm.

Fernandez will need to play the role of stopper for the Marlins, who dropped three straight to the Phillies to begin their six-game road trip. Although the Mets have won three straight at home, Fernandez is confident he can build on his previous road experience.

Although he has a 5.04 ERA in six road starts, his outings in such big-market parks as Citi Field and Dodger Stadium have given him confidence to perform on such stages.

"That helps a lot," Fernandez said. "To pitch against those teams, pretty good teams, and those crowds, I think that helps a lot. It gives you a lot of experience. It's just a big part of the game, pitching on the road. It's not easy. You've got to be focused on what you're doing and blocking out everything. That's how I try to go about it."

But defeating Harvey won't be an easy task. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.97 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and .169 average against in seven starts at Citi Field. New York is 5-2 with Harvey on the hill at home.

Marlins: Coghlan will be well rested
Chris Coghlan, whose 10-game hitting streak was snapped on Tuesday, got the chance to slow down and was out of the lineup on Wednesday, then Miami had an off-day on Thursday before the postponement. He had appeared in Miami's lineup since May 18.

Coghlan has been one of Miami's best bats since early May, raising his batting average from .170 on May 3 to .283, which ranks second among Marlins with at least 55 at-bats.

Mets: Harvey looks to extend undefeated streak
Harvey enters Saturday's contest as the first pitcher in franchise history to be undefeated through his first 12 starts.

He is also the first Mets pitcher to start the season 5-0 since 2011, when Dillon Gee started 7-0.

Manager Terry Collins believes that Harvey would have even more wins if not for the struggles of the Mets' offense, which is in the bottom three in the NL in total bases, batting average and on-base percentage.

"[It's a] function of what's going on," Collins said. "Like I said the other day, he should have nine [wins]. He doesn't, so he's got to keep pitching well."

Worth noting
• The Marlins, who have beaten the Mets five times in six games, have won just 11 other games this season.

• The Mets have a .228 team batting average, 29th in the Majors.

MLB.com Comments