MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – There is no doubt that the two teams starting a 3-game series at Marlins Park are going in the opposite directions.
Lucas Duda is the muscle behind the New York Mets’ power surge that’s moved them within percentage points of first place in the NL East.
His production has been largely absent on the road this season, however, and he’s routinely struggled against Miami’s Tom Koehler.
Duda tries to continue to feast on opposing pitching in the Mets’ opener of a three-game series with the Marlins on Monday night.
Duda is the first Met to hit nine homers in a span of eight games. New York is 6-2 over that stretch at home, which includes Duda batting .393 with 12 RBIs while the team has totaled 17 homers – one fewer than the previous 29 overall games.
Of the first baseman’s five hits in the last two games, three have left the park and he plated five runs to help the Mets (55-50) sweep a three-game set from first-place Washington. They’re just four ten-thousandths of a point back of the Nationals, who host Arizona.
Duda, Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy homered over a span of five pitches in New York’s five-run third of Sunday’s 5-2 win over Washington.
“It’s so much fun to be a Met right now,” Sunday’s winning pitcher Noah Syndergaard said.
The Mets are looking for this surge to continue during a six-game road trip but they’ve hit just three homers during a 7-6 stretch as the visitor.
Duda is batting .194 with three homers and nine RBIs on the road compared to .296, 18 and 41 at home. He’s homered once in his last 12 games at Miami – none in the past seven.
He’s also 3 for 22 (.136) with two doubles against Koehler. Only Duda’s .087 average against Aaron Harang is worse for a pitcher he’s faced at least 22 times.
New York may need another big offensive display with Bartolo Colon (9-10, 4.96 ERA) getting the ball.
The 42-year-old right-hander has been backed by two total runs over his last seven starts but that hasn’t mattered much since he’s 0-6 with a 6.16 ERA. He’s matched the longest losing streak of his career set over eight games with the Los Angeles Angels in 2007.
Colon was hammered for six runs and 10 hits – two homers – before being pulled with one out in the third of a 7-3 loss to San Diego on Wednesday.
He’s 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in three starts against the Marlins (43-62) this year. However, he gave up four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss at Miami on April 29.
The Marlins had lost seven of eight games before Adeiny Hechavarria hit a three-run walkoff homer in Sunday’s 5-2 win over San Diego.
“I never ended a game that way with a walkoff home run,” said Hechavarria, who has a career-high five homers. “Extremely happy.”
Miami should have Dee Gordon back after he got the day off Sunday. The second baseman is third in the NL with a .330 average and he’s hitting .439 in 10 season meetings with the Mets, including 4 for 9 versus Colon.
Koehler (8-7, 3.38) has failed to get out of the fourth inning in two meetings with New York this year. He’s surrendered 12 runs and as many hits with six walks in 6 2-3 innings, while losing his only decision.
Those outings, however, came on the road and the right-hander owns a 1.91 ERA in five career home starts.
Koehler is 4-2 with a 2.32 ERA in eight home starts this season, but he gave up five runs in six innings of a 7-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday.
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