When Zack Wheeler goes fishing in South Florida, he never comes home empty-handed. In five career starts against Miami, including four this season, he is 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA and five quality starts.
Most recently, Wheeler allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings on July 11, marking his fourth straight outing against the Fish allowing one run or fewer. With history on his side and a stellar past two months at his back, Wheeler aims to keep rolling.
He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his past 11 starts dating back to June 30, lowering his ERA more than a full point from 4.45 to 3.44. Although he has walked 3.95 batters per nine innings during this stretch, it has yet to hurt him.
Wheeler issued three or more free passes for the fifth consecutive start in his most recent turn, a stark difference in style than that of his Monday counterpart, Henderson Alvarez, who will toe the rubber at Marlins Park.
Alvarez, who is enjoying a career-best season thus far, has walked only 1.7 batters per nine innings in 2014, ranking fifth in the National League. He also owns a 2.75 ERA, which places the right-hander seventh among NL starters.
Keeping those numbers in mind, Alvarez has stumbled in back-to-back outings. After allowing two earned runs or fewer in 13 of 14 starts from May 22 to Aug. 16, the Venezuelan has given up nine earned runs in his past two turns.
He has also surrendered two homers in each of his past two starts, one of which was at Coors Field. The other came on Wednesday at Angel Stadium, where Mike Trout and Gordon Beckham took Alvarez deep.
Alvarez has allowed 12 homers. A year ago, in 102 2/3 innings, he gave up just two.
"Just pitches up in the zone that I left up," Alvarez said of his most recent struggles. "All you can do is go out there and do the best you can."
Alvarez is 4-2 with a 3.15 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.
Mets: Hoping to reverse road woes
Despite finishing 14 games under .500 at 74-88 last season, the Mets excelled considerably with a 41-40 record away from Citi Field. However, with a six-game road trip beginning Monday, New York is just 31-38 on the road this season.
The Mets are 11-11 in their past 22 road games since ending June and beginning July with a 1-6 trip during which they scored fewer than three runs per game.
Marlins: Final month push for offense
Streaky is one way to describe Miami's offense. Giancarlo Stanton, of course, has been the biggest threat, pacing the National League in home runs and RBIs. Down the stretch, the team will be looking for production throughout the lineup.
"It's a long year," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "A season always has ups and downs, in every facet of the game -- offensively, defensively. You're going to have ups and downs, and you've got to find a way to weather those ups and downs.
"I think our lineup has shown the ability to score a lot of runs. And there are times it seems like everybody is cooling at the same time. But they work their tails off, and they give 1,000 percent every night out there, with quality at-bats, and taking walks, and grinding out pitchers. I think you're seeing a lot of maturation with young guys with their approaches at the plate. It's a streaky one, but one that shows it can be better."
• Lucas Duda and Stanton are tied for second in the Majors with 12 homers apiece in the second half. Houston's Chris Carter ranks first with 14.
• Jenrry Mejia, 24, who moved to the bullpen on May 12, is the second-youngest pitcher in Mets history to record at least 20 saves in a season.
• Marlins relievers Carter Capps (right elbow) and Dan Jennings (concussion) will come off the disabled list Monday.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.