Strong pitching has spurred the Miami Marlins' home success against the New York Mets, and Tom Koehler has been an unexpected contributor.
Koehler looks to extend the Marlins' longest stretch of home dominance on the mound against the Mets on Saturday.
Miami (37-36) has won 13 of the past 18 home meetings with New York behind a 2.37 ERA, and it's at 1.14 in taking six of the last seven. The Marlins won 3-2 Friday after falling 1-0 in the opener of the four-game set a day earlier.
Turning to Koehler (5-5, 3.84 ERA) may only keep that dominance going, while shaking him out of his recent funk.
The right-hander's 18 consecutive scoreless innings at home against the Mets (33-41) is the longest by any Marlins pitcher in the all-time series. That's a big reason why he owns a 1.59 ERA in five home games - three starts - against the NL East rival, splitting a pair of decisions.
Koehler dominated New York at Marlins Park again May 7, yielding two hits in eight innings of a 1-0 victory.
Another meeting may be welcome since he's 1-2 with a 6.99 ERA in five starts after compiling a 1.40 ERA and 2-1 record over the previous four outings.
His struggles came in one inning Monday, blowing a three-run lead by surrendering four in the sixth of a 5-4 loss in 13 to the Chicago Cubs. Koehler gave up four of five runs in the sixth inning against Texas six days earlier.
"For whatever reason, Tommy is having a tough time getting through that sixth inning," manager Mike Redmond told the team's official website. "He was breezing. He's got to fight through that to win ballgames at this level. He's got to find a way to execute pitches and get that win."
Adeiny Hechavarria also seems to be rather comfortable at home, hitting .322 compared to .213 on the road. He had a double and two RBIs on Friday, giving him a .389 average in the last nine games in Miami.
The shortstop, though, is 4 for 38 in 12 career home matchups with New York.
The Mets have dropped nine of 11 on the road, failing to score more than four runs in any of those games while batting .165 with runners in scoring position.
Jacob deGrom (0-4, 4.39) takes the ball for New York as he again seeks his first career win.
The rookie right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA over his last four starts after going 0-2 with a 1.83 mark in his first three, while being backed by four total runs.
DeGrom's latest outing was his worst of the season, giving up six runs and 12 hits while being pulled with one out in the fifth inning of Monday's 6-2 loss at St. Louis.
Still, he wasn't frustrated by the effort.
"I just look at how many balls were really hit hard," he said. "Three or four were hit hard, the rest just kind of found holes and went through."
It may be important for deGrom to show some improvement, as the Mets expect to make a change to the rotation with Dillon Gee (strained right lat) expected to come off the disabled list soon.