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COL@MIA: Koehler silences Rockies for seven strong

Lately, Miami righty Tom Koehler has struggled to prevent runs, and the Mets' hitters have had trouble scoring them.

One of the two seems assured of a turnaround in Sunday's series finale at Citi Field. Koehler, who is 0-4 with a 5.89 ERA over his last seven outings, is scheduled to pitch against right-hander Dillon Gee and New York, which has averaged 1.7 runs per game in the first seven contests of this homestand.

After the Mets took Friday's series opener, the two clubs split Saturday's doubleheader. The Marlins won the first game, 3-0, prompting New York manager Terry Collins to address his lineup's approach.

"We've got to make some adjustments. You look at some of the hits that they get on the other side, and they hit the ball the other way," Collins said. "We're not doing it. I know there's some guys that got here because they're power hitters or something, but we've still got to use the field better to hit."

Following their manager's words, the Mets went out and took the second game, 3-1. In the first seven games of the current homestand, however, they've compiled a .168 batting average and been shut out three times.

Koehler hasn't earned a victory since beating the Mets on Aug. 1 in Miami. Since then, he has allowed 24 runs in 36 2/3 innings.

Players on both teams are looking to impress for next year, and Koehler is no exception. Miami manager Mike Redmond has not decided whether the pitcher will be a starter or a reliever in 2014.

"With Tom, he's been given a great opportunity to go in and make these starts, get these excessive innings in," Redmond said. "It's been great for him. He's another one of those guys who we look at. He's been given a chance to start. I think he's done a great job. Ultimately, down the road, it's going to help him be a better pitcher.

"He's been able to work on his off-speed pitches, his curveball. Down the road, is he a starter or is he a bullpen guy? That's kind of to be determined. I think it's nice as a manager, when you think about going forward, you've got a guy who can start or pitch out of the bullpen. He's going to have a lot of value to us in either role."

In 26 games (20 starts) this season, Koehler is 3-10 with a 4.80 ERA. Gee, on the other hand, has an 11-10 record and 3.61 ERA across 29 starts.

Marlins: Stanton seeking strong finish
• Giancarlo Stanton is looking to end 2013 on a high note. In eight games before Saturday, he batted .393 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. Stanton had two home runs on Friday, giving himself nine career multi-homer games, and three this season.

"It's getting there," Stanton said. "We've got a few weeks left, so keep it up."

That preceded Saturday's doubleheader, in which he went 1-for-8 with three strikeouts. Injuries have limited Stanton to 102 games, across which he is hitting .253 with 22 home runs and 52 RBIs, numbers that are unacceptable to him. When asked how important the rest of the season is, he replied: "Very."

Mets: Francisco injured again
• This year, bad luck has seemed to follow Frank Francisco wherever he goes. The reliever was removed from Game 1 on Saturday after being hit in the right pinkie by a comebacker from Logan Morrison. The outing was just Francisco's fourth of the year.

X-rays on Francisco's right hand revealed a contusion, but no breaks.

"It swelled up pretty fast and pretty big," Collins said.

In December, Francisco had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, but multiple setbacks delayed his season debut with the Mets until Sept. 8, when he pitched in Cleveland.

• Injured third baseman David Wright, who's nursing a strained right hamstring, could return to the field as soon as Tuesday. Wright will almost certainly play for the Mets sometime next week.

"It's kind of a day-by-day type thing, and I think that there's still some more I need to accomplish before I play in a game," Wright said. "It's difficult for me to say, because I'd like to play. I think we, as players and coaches, tend to want to get on the field sooner than probably the medical staff and the doctors would like."

Worth noting
• In September, the Marlins are 6-8 and the Mets are 4-10.

• Miami is 11-7 against the Mets this season. Sunday marks the final meeting between the teams in 2013. Comments