MIAMI (AP) — David Wright has been on quite a tear despite his recent injury and had his best performance of the season in the opener of this three-game home series against Miami.
Considering how he’s pounded Marlins pitching this season, that effort shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Wright looks to help the New York Mets win for the sixth time in seven games as the teams meet again Saturday.
The Mets’ captain has batted .385 over his last 17, increasing his average 23 points to .285 after an inconsistent start to the first half.
Wright went 4 for 4 with a two-run homer in Friday’s 7-1 victory and has posted a .452 average with two homers, six doubles and nine RBIs while recording at least one hit in 10 of 11 games against the Marlins. He hasn’t seemed to feel the effects of a bruised rotator cuff that kept him out seven contests from June 27-July 4.
“He’s swinging the bat well,” manager Terry Collins said. “His bat is much quicker and he feels better. This is the kind of guy who can carry you if he gets hot, and we need him to get hot. As we head into the second half, his presence in that lineup is really important for us.”
Lucas Duda added a two-run homer Friday for the Mets (43-50), who have outscored opponents 32-15 over the last six.
They’ve won three straight meetings with the Marlins and Wright is 4 for 9 with two doubles this season off Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.98 ERA), who will look to bounce back with another successful start against New York.
Koehler went 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his previous three outings before having his worst outing of the year Monday, allowing seven runs in three innings of a 9-1 loss to Arizona.
It was the shortest start of the right-hander’s career.
“There is no excuse for pitching that way,” Koehler said. “I feel that I was throwing the ball really well over the last three starts or so. It’s just a bump in the road and you’ve got to move on.”
Koehler should be looking forward to another matchup with the Mets, as he’s gone 1-2 with a 1.59 ERA in his last five against them. He’s faced New York three times this season, giving up two runs and striking out 13 in 15 innings over the last two.
The Bronx native will look to help the Marlins (44-48) avoid a fourth loss in five games after they struggled offensively again. Miami has scored seven runs in its last four, with All-Star Giancarlo Stanton going 1 for 14.
Christian Yelich’s RBI single in the fifth accounted for the Marlins’ only run Friday. Miami will look to start producing against Daisuke Matsuzaka as he seeks a second straight solid start.
After posting a 6.06 ERA while losing his prior three outings, Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.32) gave up six hits in seven scoreless innings of New York’s 4-3, 11-inning win over Atlanta on Monday.
The right-hander is 2-3 with a 3.98 ERA in eight starts this season. He’s 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins, the most recent a 3-2 loss in which he allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings June 20.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)