(SportsNetwork.com) – Miami Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez has allowed just three earned runs over his last five outings, but has only been able to claim one victory in that span.
Alvarez hopes for some better luck on Friday night and another dominating effort against the New York Mets in the second contest of a four-game series.
The right-handed Alvarez has been in the zone since a two-start span in mid- March when he allowed nine earned runs over 10 innings. In his five outings since, he has pitched to a 0.81 earned run average, but his only victory over that time was an eight-hit shutout of Tampa Bay on June 3.
He has logged back-to-back no-decisions since, though Miami has managed to win each of his last six starts. That includes Sunday’s 3-2 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Alvarez yielding a pair of runs over seven innings.
Overall, the 24-year-old sits 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA on the year and logged a six-hit shutout the last time he faced the Mets on May 6. Alvarez struck out seven in that outing, improving to 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA in five lifetime starts versus the Mets.
For New York, 33-year-old Daisuke Matsuzaka will look to rebound from an upset stomach that limited him last weekend. He attempted to make his start versus San Diego on Sunday, but only lasted one inning before exiting.
“I came to the ballpark today and I had breakfast and started to feel some pain in my stomach, and I just vomited everything out,” Matsuzaka told New York’s website through an interpreter. “I knew I wasn’t physically fit to fulfill the starter’s role, but I wanted to do as much as I could. That ended up being only one inning.”
The right-hander was able to pitch an inning of relief on Tuesday and is 3-0 with a save and 2.81 ERA in 21 games with four starts on the year.
Matsuzaka is 1-0 with a 4.61 ERA in four previous meetings with the Marlins, including a pair of relief outings this season.
New York snapped a five-game slide in Miami by taking last night’s opener 1-0 behind Zack Wheeler’s first career shutout.
Wheeler fanned eight and gave up just three hits and a walk in New York’s second straight win, made possible thanks to David Wright’s first-inning homer.
“I made a few mistakes, but sometimes they cost you and sometimes they don’t and today they didn’t,” said Wheeler. “I was around the strike zone and getting ahead of guys. It’s a lot easier to pitch when you get ahead of guys and attack them.”
Wheeler’s effort came opposite Andrew Heaney, a highly-touted left-handed prospect who was making his major league debut for the Marlins. Heaney hurled six innings of work, giving up three other hits in addition to Wright’s homer.
“You don’t know how you’re going to react when you’re out there,” Heaney said. “First few innings just kind of a little antsy, quick to the plate. I had to calm down, slow down and just trust myself.”
The Marlins, who have lost six of their past eight overall, were beaten at home by the Mets for only the third time in the last 11 meetings, with Miami notching a three-game sweep at home of New York earlier this season from May 5-7.