Mets-Rockies Preview

Jorge De La Rosa has picked up where he left off for the

Colorado Rockies last season. That could mean continued success

against the New York Mets.

Coming off a dominant effort in his first start, the left-hander

looks to help the Rockies to a fourth straight victory and complete

a three-game sweep of the struggling Mets on Thursday at Coors

Field.

After one start, things are already looking up for De La Rosa

(1-0, 0.00 ERA), who failed to earn a win in his first 10 outings

last year. The veteran, who turned 29 last week, regrouped and set

career highs with 16 victories and 193 strikeouts in 2009.

He might not have been better than he was Friday, when he

allowed one hit and struck out nine in seven innings of a 7-0 win

over San Diego.

“There’s no reason he can’t be one of the best,” teammate Clint

Barmes said. “He’s got unbelievable stuff.”

De La Rosa is 5-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his last eight starts

dating to the 2009 season.

“He has taken the next step,” San Diego’s Jerry Hairston Jr.

said. “You can tell.”

The Mets certainly can. De La Rosa is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA as a

starter against New York and looks to help send the Mets (2-6) to a

fifth consecutive loss.

An inning after his throwing error let New York tie the game,

catcher Chris Iannetta homered to lead off the 10th to give

Colorado (5-3) a 6-5 win Wednesday.

Iannetta had three hits and Ryan Spilborghs hit a three-run

homer for the Rockies, who’ve outscored the Mets 17-8 in the first

two games of the set. Todd Helton added two hits, and is 6 for 7

with a home run against New York scheduled starter Mike

Pelfrey.

The Mets hope for another solid outing from Pelfrey (1-0, 3.00)

after he allowed two runs in six innings of an 8-2 win over

Washington on Friday.

Pelfrey, who won 13 games in 2008, is off to a good start after

going 10-12 with a 5.03 ERA last season.

“I feel good, I feel comfortable,” Pelfrey told the Mets’

official Web site. “I know I’m prepared to have the kind of season

they expect from me.”

The right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.00 ERA against the Rockies, but

both losses came at Coors Field.

David Wright and Jeff Francoeur each hit their third home runs

of the season for the Mets, who went 1 for 12 with runners in

scoring position Wednesday.

“We haven’t done well hitting with runners in scoring

position,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “We have to do better

in that area.”

New York is batting .234 and struck out 30 times during its

four-game skid.

“These are frustrating loses,” said Wright, who’s homered in

each of the last two games. “We fought back, but didn’t get the hit

when we needed it and it’s another loss.”

Despite his team’s early struggles, Francoeur is 12 for 28 and

hit safely in all eight games. He’s 1 for 5 with three RBIs against

De La Rosa.

New York was last swept in a series at Coors Field from July

2-4, 2007.