The first four innings have been no problem for Matt Harvey, but the New York Mets' right-hander is out to solve his issues later in games.
The location for his next start is baseball's toughest place to pitch – no matter what inning it is.
Harvey will try to help the Mets to their 12th straight win over the Colorado Rockies when they open a series at Coors Field on Friday night.
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New York (21-13) is 4-4 on its season-high 11-game trip after a Thursday's 5-0 loss while that gave the Mets a four-game split against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The game before that series in Los Angeles, Harvey (3-4, 4.50 ERA) held San Diego to two runs in six innings of a 4-3 win – his third in his last four starts. Harvey allowed just four hits while striking out a season-high 10.
His velocity consistently reached 97 mph, and he struck out six of the first eight batters he faced.
“It's definitely a difference from my last couple starts,” Harvey told MLB's official website. “I felt good on the mound and executed pitches when I needed to.”
But both charged runs against him came in the fifth, moving his post-fourth inning ERA to 11.25. Harvey holds a sparkling 1.61 mark from innings one through four. He hopes to reach the seventh for the first time this season in his career debut at Coors Field.
Colorado (16-18) might be the toughest place for a pitcher to find a rhythm. Coors' 6.28 ERA is baseball's highest and the only stadium with one north of 6.00. Hitters also hold MLB's highest batting average (.303), on-base percentage (.365) and slugging percentage (.518) there.
Not surprisingly, Jon Gray has had opposite luck at and away from Colorado. The right-hander has given up 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his two starts at Coors and two runs in 13 innings away from home.
Gray (0-1, 5.40) posted the best start of his brief career with seven one-hit innings in Saturday's 2-1 loss at San Francisco. The right-hander walked two and struck out five, giving him 16 punchouts his last two starts. He extended his scoreless streak to 12 innings but remained winless in 13 career starts.
The Rockies salvaged a game from a series with Arizona and avoided setting the longest home losing streak in franchise history with Wednesday's 8-7 victory over the Diamondbacks.
Colorado had tied the club mark for consecutive defeats at Coors with seven and was within two of the mark for home losses in Denver set in 1993 at Mile High Stadium.
“That's not like us,” Nolan Arenado said. “We're way better than that.”
Arenado hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and finished with three hits. He is batting .377 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 15 games.
“He's so clutch,” manager Walt Weiss said. “He rises to the occasion almost all the time. We get spoiled watching him. Big-time player.”