Mets’ Rosario set for debut against Rockies (Aug 01, 2017)
DENVER — Fortified by two key acquisitions, the Colorado Rockies will begin a six-game homestand with the opener against the New York Mets.
The series will conclude a season-high-tying, 10-game road trip for the Mets, who with their hopes for 2017 extinguished, traded closer Addison Reed to the Boston Red Sox on Monday and first baseman Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays last week, getting back prospects.
The Mets (48-55) have lost four of their past five games to fall to 3-4 on the trip — yet they have something to look forward to on Tuesday.
With the Monday non-waiver trade deadline now past, the Mets will recall shortstop Amed Rosario, their top prospect, who will make his major league debut at Coors Field. At Triple-A Las Vegas, Rosario, 21, hit .328 with seven homers, 58 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and an .833 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
“We wanted to get through the deadline and try to resolve some of the positional issues that we had,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said on a conference call. “So, at the same time we were working our way through the deadline, we’ve seen that (Asdrubal) Cabrera has moved to second and ultimately to third. We think that Jose Reyes can play well at second, (Neil) Walker can play some first base and second base.
“I think the flexibility that our existing infielders possess allows us to move some pieces around and give Amed a chance to play shortstop.”
The Rockies (60-46) are coming off a 2-4 trip to St. Louis and Washington that ended with a series win over the Nationals. On Sunday, Colorado acquired catcher Jonathon Lucroy from the Texas Rangers four days after a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies netted reliever Pat Neshek.
Both Neshek, 36, who has made two appearances for the Rockies, and Lucroy, 31, who will join the team Tuesday and help guide Colorado’s four rookie starters, can be free agents after the season. But the Rockies, who are a half-game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, the leader in the National League wild-card race, and 5 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second wild-card spot, have their sights trained on reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009.
It all made for a memorable time leading up to the trade deadline for the Rockies, who last made big news at that frenzied time of the season in 2015 as sellers when they traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays in a six-player swap.
“It seems like the front office understands that we’re for real, we’re in this, and they’re trying to make the moves to get better,” Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “We appreciate that. I guess it gets you a little more pumped up to come to the ballpark every day. With Neshek and Lucroy, it shows that there’s a little something to this. It’s a little different. The only deadline I remember is when we traded Tulo.”
The starters for the series opener Tuesday will be Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman (6-3, 5.58 ERA) and Mets left-hander Steven Matz (2-4, 5.51). It is a rematch of a July 16 encounter that was a mess for Matz.
Both Hoffman and Matz will be trying to reverse course. Hoffman is 0-2 with a 16.71 ERA in his past two starts, including Wednesday at St. Louis, when he gave up seven hits and seven runs (six earned) in four innings and lost 10-5. The Rockies are 7-5 in starts by Hoffman, who is 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in his one career start against the Mets.
On July 16 at Citi Field, the Rockies staked Hoffman to a large early lead at the expense of Matz and won 13-4. In the shortest start of Matz’s career, as he gave up nine hits and seven runs in one-plus inning. Matz is 0-2 with a 11.57 ERA in two career starts vs. the Rockies.
In his past four starts overall, Matz is 0-4 with a 14.18 ERA, a .479 opponents’ batting average and a 1.282 OPS.
Last Wednesday at San Diego, Matz gave up nine hits and six runs in three innings, throwing 66 pitches in a 6-3 loss.
“He is trying to be too perfect. You can’t be afraid to miss off the plate,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “This guy has got good enough control that he knows he can throw strikes. He’s just got to make better pitches. The point is he’s healthy. The velocity says that. He’s just got to relax and make pitches.”