For the Marlins, Thursday's game is the end of an 11-game road trip that began July 30 in Atlanta. The Marlins are 4-6 on the trip after beating the Mets, 13-0, on Wednesday.
The series finale will feature a matchup of Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson and Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey. Johnson is coming off his best start of the season in the second game of Friday's doubleheader in Washington. Johnson struck out nine and allowed two runs (one earned) in 8 2/3 innings against the Nationals.
Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire said Johnson's new curveball has given hitters a different look as the ace tries to regain the fastball velocity he had before injuring his shoulder last year.
"When he's throwing that 78-81 or 82 [mph], it's a big difference," St. Claire said. "I think he's had to learn how to be a little more of a pitcher because he still doesn't have the 96, 97 when he wants to.
"I strongly feel that he will be back there. And that it will come back to him. But I think it's going to be the whole year and probably into next year when we start seeing that. We'll see that [velocity] come back to where it ordinarily was."
As a knuckleballer, Dickey doesn't need to throw in the mid- to upper-90s to be effective. When he is at his best, Dickey frustrates hitters by mixing his low-80s fastball with his fluttering knuckleball.
He is looking for his 15th win after missing a chance to pick it up Friday in San Diego, when the Mets suffered a 3-1 loss that included a late close play at the plate. Dickey was disappointed with the loss, but said he didn't pitch well enough to win.
"It stings a little bit because we should have won that game, not because of any groove that I was in," Dickey said. "I didn't execute a pitch or two. We had some funny plays, too. But regardless, that's a game that I think everybody in here thought we should have won."
Marlins: Reyes carries 26-game hitting streak into series finale
Shortstop Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a first-inning home run Wednesday. His streak is the longest in the Major Leagues this season, and is tied for second longest in Marlins history.
Reyes, the former Mets shortstop, is hitting .369 during the streak, which began in the Marlins' first game after the All-Star break.
Reyes became the first reigning batting champion to have a hitting streak of at least 26 games since Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio set the record with a 56-game hitting streak in 1941. Reyes won the National League batting title last season, when he hit .337 with the Mets.
Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton returned from the disabled list on Tuesday and played in the first two games of the series. He is expected to get Thursday off as he works to return to full strength after missing four weeks after undergoing knee surgery.
Stanton went 4-for-5 with two home runs and a double in the Marlins' 13-0 victory Wednesday. He is hitting .290 with 21 home runs this season.
Mets: Tejada has a streak of his own
Though former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes has gotten a lot of attention for his 26-game hitting streak, Ruben Tejada, his replacement in New York, has a lengthy streak of his own. Tejada extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third inning Wednesday.
Tejada leads all Major League shortstops with a .322 batting average this season.
Reyes will be looking to extend his hitting streak Thursday, but he's just 2-for-12 in his career against Dickey. Tejada is 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Johnson.