A run of solid pitching performances keyed their recent outstanding stretch, but now the New York Mets are having to contend with an offensive powerhouse in Colorado.
Zack Wheeler will take his best shot at slowing down a Rockies team that could be missing Carlos Gonzalez.
New York hopes to bounce back and even the series with its eighth victory in 11 games, while Colorado will try for its fifth win in six contests Friday night.
The Mets (15-12) had posted a 2.07 ERA while limiting opponents to a .212 average during a 7-2 stretch heading into this four-game set at Coors Field. Bartolo Colon, however, couldn’t extend that effort Thursday when he allowed seven runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 7-4 loss.
Corey Dickerson had three hits and Nolan Arenado extended the majors’ longest hitting streak to 21 games for the Rockies (17-13), who hope to move closer to their fifth straight home series win.
Gonzalez hit his sixth home run in the first inning, but he’s day to day after being lifted in the fourth because of what the team said was a bruised left index finger.
”I don’t think he’s going to miss a lot of time,” said manager Walt Weiss, whose club is already without 2013 NL batting champion Michael Cuddyer (hamstring). ”It was encouraging that the swelling was going down already.”
Colorado ranks at or near the top of the majors at home in batting average (.346), home runs (23) and on-base percentage (.395). Troy Tulowitzki is 20 for 36 (.556) with four homers and 14 RBIs at hitter-friendly Coors, while Charlie Blackmon has gone 23 for 50 (.460) with five homers and 15 RBIs.
Wheeler (1-2, 3.99 ERA) will try to cool off those bats as he makes his first career start in Colorado. He’s given up just six runs with 19 strikeouts over 18 1-3 innings in his last three starts – all New York victories.
On Friday, the right-hander limited Miami to one run and four hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts over six innings. He did not factor in the decision as New York rallied in the ninth for a 4-3 home win.
"You’ve got to make big pitches at certain points in the game," Wheeler told the team’s official website. "That’s what I did."
The Rockies, 9-4 at home, counter with Jorge De La Rosa (2-3, 5.23). The left-hander has allowed two runs over 12 innings while winning his last two starts after going 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA in his first four outings.
He’ll try to build on his best effort Sunday when he surrendered one run and four hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.
De La Rosa is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in four career starts against the Mets, though he hasn’t faced them since April 2011. He’ll face a New York team that has hit .208 with only five home runs in its last 12 games.
Chris Young has seen him the most of any New York hitter, but he’s 5 for 26 with two homers in the matchup dating to his time with Arizona. Young has gone 4 for 10 with three RBIs in his last three games following a 6-for-33 start.
New York’s Juan Lagares, hitting a team-best .314, had two doubles and an RBI in his return after spending two weeks on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.