Rockies-Mets Preview

The New York Mets have struggled to score as their slump has
deepened over the past two weeks. The Colorado Rockies have had
even bigger problems of late, pairing a similar lack of hitting
with ineffective pitching.

These teams open a three-game series at Citi Field on Tuesday
night in a matchup of scuffling clubs that have fallen toward the
bottom of their respective divisions.

New York (49-60) has totaled 11 runs while losing four of five
and has scored 13 times in its past nine defeats. The Mets have
dropped seven of 10 after a 6-2 loss to red-hot Kansas City on
Sunday.

Center fielder Marlon Byrd misplayed two flyballs and New York
committed two errors, while Zack Wheeler wasn’t at his best in
allowing four runs – three earned – in five innings. The Mets –
missing recently injured slugger David Wright – managed eight hits,
the eighth time in 10 contests they were held to single digits.

New York could move second baseman Daniel Murphy back to third
to fill Wright’s spot. Murphy, though, struggled in the field when
he was being moved from position to position before settling in at
second.

“He’s played over there enough in the past that I don’t think
that’s going to be a huge transition,” manager Terry Collins told
the team’s official website Sunday. “It’s just that that ball gets
to you a lot faster, too.”

Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 2.08 ERA) will look for his third strong
outing in as many starts this season. The right-hander gave up
three runs in six innings of 3-2 loss at Miami on Wednesday after a
seven-inning effort in an 11-0 win over Washington on July 26.

Mejia will be making his first career start against Colorado
after facing it twice in 2010.

While New York has had trouble generating offense, the Rockies
(52-61) haven’t hit much or pitched well during their rough
stretch. Colorado has scored 12 runs in a 1-5 stretch – it’s 1-6 in
the previous seven – and has posted a 6.51 ERA in the past 11
games, going 3-8.

Even one of the Rockies’ top hurlers struggled his last time
out, as Tyler Chatwood (7-4, 3.15) allowed a career-high seven
earned runs along with 10 hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 9-0 loss to
Atlanta on Wednesday. The right-hander gave up more than two runs
for just the second time in his past 14 starts.

“I felt good about having Chatty out there (Wednesday), the way
he competes,” manager Walt Weiss said. “He’s throwing the ball
good.”

That may not matter if the Rockies, who lost 5-1 to Pittsburgh
on Sunday, don’t start getting more from their two key hitters.
Troy Tulowitzki has gone 3 for 21 in the last seven games while
Carlos Gonzalez, among the NL leaders with 26 home runs, is in a
1-for-9 slump as he struggles with a chronically sprained right
middle finger.

Gonzalez hasn’t homered in 10 games.

“It’s still real sore,” he told the team’s website following his
return to the lineup Sunday after not starting for four straight
contests. “But as players, we prepare the entire winter to play the
whole season. I know I might not be 100 percent, but I can’t stand
sitting in the clubhouse or in the dugout when my team is playing.
I want to be out there.”

Chatwood gave up one run in six innings of 3-2 loss to the Mets
on June 27. He’s 1-0 with 0.56 ERA in three career starts against
them.