"That was a change for me,'' Conley said of facing the Padres. "Especially because I didn't know these guys at all.''
The Marlins were on the wrong end of a 5-3 verdict, but it's hard to blame Conley. The southpaw worked six innings and was charged with one run on six hits and two walks. He struck out five while throwing a season-high 93 pitches.
"I thought Adam was really good tonight,'' Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He threw the ball very well and kept us in the game, he gave us a chance.''
Conley got off on a bad note when the Padres' Manuel Margot opened the bottom of the first with a triple and scored one batter later. But from there, the herky-jerky Conley kept the Padres at bay. He had to tiptoe around trouble in the second and fourth innings when the Padres advanced a runner to scoring position with one out.
But both times, Conley made the critical pitch at the crucial juncture.
"I got into a better rhythm and a better feel of what I wanted to do,'' Conley said. "I also got a better feel of these guys, too. I had never pitched against them before, except for [Ryan] Schimpf. I was trying to learn what they wanted to do. I really didn't have any experience against anyone in the lineup.''
That makes hitting Conley all them much tougher, too. He had more than one Padre muttering to himself, unable to solve Conley's delivery which starts on the first base side and ends on opposite side.
"He's a guy that has a lot of angle and is tough to deal with,'' Mattingly said. "You don't see many guys like him. He is a pretty good cross-fire guy who likes to get the ball inside. He is a tough angle so he has given a lot of teams trouble.''
Conley didn't give Mattingly the business when he asked for the ball after six innings. It was a conversation which was far from a filibuster.
"It was short,'' Conley said. "I was at 93 [pitches]. So this early in the year..I'm not walking back to the dugout expecting to come out of the game, I want to pitch. "But when he comes up to me, I'm not surprised. My intention is I've earned the right, if I'm around that area again, and throwing the ball well, to get the ball and go back out there and throw 105-110 pitches.''
That day may come soon.
"Adam has been effective all year long,'' Mattingly said. "We just didn't do enough to win tonight.''
Conley did his part against his opponents that he knew little about as his record remains 1-1, with a 3.00 ERA.
"I didn't really know a whole lot of history or anything because there wasn't anything for me to find,'' he said. "It was kind of just going out there and taking the information that A.J. [Ellis] and J.T. [Realmuto] were able to dig up and see how we could use my strength against these guys. That was what we did to the best of our ability and I absolutely felt prepared for that start.''
Even if it wasn't against the familiar Mets.
Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.