By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- As the Miami Marlins begin making plans for next season, Jacob Turner is making his case to be part of that future.
Turner and the Marlins open a three-game road series against the slumping New York Mets, coming off an ugly home loss, on Friday night.
Expected to contend for the NL East title, Miami begins its final road trip - a six-game stretch that also stops in Atlanta - 18 games under .500, matching a season worst.
"It's hard to believe we're going on the road trip not fighting for the pennant race," manager Ozzie Guillen told the Marlins' official website. "When we built this ballclub, we thought these next six games would be very fun. ... We're very embarrassed. But we've got to continue to play."
The Marlins (66-84), in last place in the NL East - one-half game back of New York - dropped two of three to Atlanta this week, losing 3-0 Wednesday.
Miami managed five hits as Giancarlo Stanton missed a third straight game with a strained muscle in his side.
Stanton, who could return Friday, is hitting .349 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 11 games against the Mets this year.
Miami has lost four straight to New York after being outscored 13-4 while being swept at home Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
Turner (1-2, 3.75 ERA) will try to snap that losing streak coming off his most impressive outing of the season. The right-hander gave up two hits over seven innings of a 4-0 win against Cincinnati last Friday.
Turner, acquired by the Marlins in a trade with Detroit, entered the game with a 6.44 ERA with both clubs, but had allowed two runs over six innings against Washington his previous time out.
"Anytime you can build upon a start from one start to the next, you're doing something right," Turner, making his first start against the Mets on Friday, said. "I'm excited about that."
He and the Marlins will try to move in front of the Mets (66-83), who have lost five straight and 13 of 15.
New York was routed 16-1 by Philadelphia on Thursday as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep. The Mets gave up eight runs in the first and seven in the ninth while they were held to three hits.
Asked if he thought his players had quit, manager Terry Collins said: "You have to ask them. I have my own opinion. And I'm not going to express it publicly."
New York fell to 4-25 in Flushing since July 8, and has plated three runs or fewer in a team-record 16 straight home games since a 6-5 win over Atlanta on Aug. 12.
The Mets will try to provide some support for Jonathon Niese (11-9, 3.46), who snapped a three-game losing streak his last time out.
Niese gave up two runs in six innings of a 7-3 win over Milwaukee last Friday. His previous three starts were also quality outings, but New York provided a combined three runs of support.
A lack of offense has certainly played a factor in his poor results against the Marlins. Niese is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts against them - two of which New York has lost - with the Mets scoring five runs for him.
Updated September 21, 2012