The Miami Marlins may be struggling, but shortstop Jose Reyes is seeing the ball rather well at the plate.
Reyes and the Marlins will invade Citi Field tonight for the first of three straight games against the New York Mets. Reyes, a former Met, is riding a career-best 24-game hitting streak and is batting .371 during the tear with a .408 on-base percentage, four homers, seven stolen bases, eight doubles, eight RBI and 18 runs scored.
The hitting streak is the longest in the majors this season and the fourth- longest in franchise history. Luis Castillo recorded a 35-game run back in 2002. Emilio Bonifacio had a 26-game stretch last season and Kevin Millar had a hit in 25 straight games in 2002.
Miami is 2-6 so far on an 11-game road trip and lost three of four meetings in Washington, including Sunday's 4-1 setback. Greg Dobbs had two hits and an RBI, Reyes went 1-for-4 and Carlos Lee added a hit and a run scored. Lee is hitting .474 with 10 RBI and 18 hits during an 11-game hitting streak for the Marlins, who have lost 14 of their last 19 games.
Ricky Nolasco was dealt the loss for giving up four runs in six innings.
"Ricky threw the ball better today than he was the last couple of outings," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Very tough second inning. He left some balls over the middle of the plate. I thought he was going to be worse, knowing it was hot and humid."
Wade LeBlanc draws the start for Miami tonight and is 1-1 with a 1.35 earned run average in 12 games (1 start) this season. He allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings of a 4-2 win at Atlanta last Wednesday for the no-decision. The left- hander has made two career starts against New York, going 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA.
LeBlanc will take the mound on his 28th birthday and could use some help from outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton could return to the lineup Tuesday and hasn't played since undergoing right knee surgery in early July. The slugger is hitting .284 with 19 homers and 50 RBI this season, and was activated off the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
To make room for Stanton, the Marlins placed infielder Donnie Murphy on the 15-day DL, retroactive to August 4, with a left hamstring strain.
The Mets are back home for a six-game residency versus Miami and Atlanta, and went 6-5 on a season-long, 11-game road trip. They dropped two of three at San Diego over the weekend and suffered a 7-3 loss Sunday in which Matt Harvey allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.
"It was one of those days where I couldn't find the strike zone and when I did it wasn't quality," Harvey said. "Just one of those days."
Ronny Cedeno hit a pinch-hit two-run homer and Ruben Tejada had two hits to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. He batting .380 with one homer, two RBI, four runs scored and a .426 on-base percentage during the stretch. David Wright is hitless in his last three games and still needs one more home run to reach 200 in his career. He will join Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220) in that category. Wright also is three RBI shy of 800.
New York is hoping to halt a seven-game home losing streak, the longest since an eight-game slide in 2007 at Shea Stadium, and will send Jonathon Niese to the mound Tuesday. Niese was 0-2 in four starts until besting San Francisco by the bay in a 2-1 win last Wednesday. He held the Giants to a run and three hits in seven innings to improve to 8-5 in 21 starts and lowered his earned run average to 3.72.
Niese, a left-hander, is 4-2 in 10 starts at Citi Field this season and has no record and a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Marlins this season. He is only 1-4 with a 4.47 ERA in eight career starts in this series.
New York has won four of six over Miami this season and is unbeaten in the past five matchups at home. The Mets swept a three-game series versus the Marlins from April 24-26.