When Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his final pre-All-Star-break start for the Mets on Saturday, it could be his last start for a while.
Nothing is clear yet, but with lefty Jon Niese due back from the disabled list after the break, and Dillon Gee now healthy with a start already under his belt this past week, someone will have to exit New York's rotation.
So Saturday might be Matsuzaka's last chance to prove something on the mound. But if he continues to throw impressive outings -- like his seven scoreless innings against the Braves on Monday -- he'll give manager Terry Collins a lot to think about.
"We've talked about it. I don't know if we're gonna announce it just yet. I haven't talked to [general manager] Sandy [Alderson]," said Collins. "A lot of things will hinge on how Jon Niese is feeling when we come out of the break too."
Hoping to throw a wrench into those plans will be Marlins righty Tom Koehler. The New York native who attended Stony Brook has made 18 starts this season, but none were quite as rough as his last one.
At Arizona, Koehler was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in a season-low three innings.
"There's no excuse for pitching that way," Koehler said after the game. "I feel like I've been throwing the ball really well over the last three starts or so, so it's just a bump in the road. I've got to move on."
Lifetime against the Mets, Koehler is 1-3 with a 2.49 ERA. His last outing was strong, but he was outdueled by Jacob deGrom, both lasting seven innings in a 4-0 Mets victory.
The Marlins have had a nice competitive rivalry with the Mets, which continued Friday in a 7-1 Mets win. Miami manager Mike Redmond said it has basically been that way for a few years.
"We've always had some good battles with these guys, even going back to when I was playing," the former catcher said. "That's the beauty of divisions and playing teams multiple times. You kind of get a feel for each other, and it really comes down to execution and getting big hits and limiting mistakes. That's definitely the key for our success."
Mets: First-rounder Conforto visits New York for first time
On Friday, Michael Conforto, the Mets' 10th overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft, made his first trip to New York to take a physical and finalize his contract. MLB.com reported last month Conforto would receive a $2.97 million signing bonus.
The 21-year-old outfielder joined the Major League team for its pregame routine, complete with uniform -- he wore No. 88 -- and a round of batting practice.
As a junior at Oregon State this spring, Conforto his .345 with seven home runs and 56 RBIs in 59 games. He was named one of the five finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, given annually to the top college player in the country. Conforto was also named the PAC-12 Player of the Year for the second season in a row, and he was the first three-time All-American in school history.
"Besides the fact that Michael is an all-around outstanding player from our point of view," Alderson said, "his outstanding on-base approach as well as his left-handed swing and the power potential that he brings [is] sort of a natural fit for our organization in this ballpark as a gap-to-gap-type of hitter. We're extraordinarily pleased to have him."
Marlins: Not giving up hope on making push
For all their inconsistencies, coupled with some tough late-inning losses, the Marlins remain within striking distance in the National League East as the All-Star break approaches.
The Marlins are weighing what is out there on the trade front, looking for a starter. The club feels it has the pieces to go on a winning streak.
"We're right there," Redmond said. "I've seen 10-game leads go in September. You think about where you are in July. If you're within 10 games, for me, you're still right in the hunt. Within our division, everybody plays each other kind of tough. For sure, I still feel like this thing is wide open."
• No Mets hitters left the yard Thursday night against the Braves, snapping their Citi Field home run streak at a club-record nine straight games. But Lucas Duda and David Wright picked up the slack Friday, hitting the Mets' 24th and 25th home runs, respectively, in their last 23 games.
• Outfielder Marcell Ozuna had his 15-game hitting streak snapped Friday, just one shy of his career long.
• Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez allowed a season-high six earned runs Friday night, ending a 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak against the Mets.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.