Mets-Rockies Preview

The opponent and city may change, but the weather continues to

be an additional hurdle for the New York Mets.

Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies have been challenging

enough.

After having their last two contests postponed, the Mets try to

solve Tulowitzki and end a four-game skid to the Rockies when these

teams play a split-doubleheader Tuesday.

New York (7-4) spent the weekend freezing in Minneapolis, and

Sunday’s finale of a three-game series was postponed to Aug. 19 due

to rain and snow. The Mets outscored the Twins 20-7 to win the

first two games, overcoming temperatures in the 30s.

The first contest of this four-game set was postponed Monday

because of a heavy snowstorm, and forecasts call for additional

snow Tuesday.

The Mets have won four of five in Denver, including two of three

April 27-29, but that series was played with temperatures reaching

as high as 60.

New York, though, is 4-10 in the last 14 overall meetings with

the Rockies (8-4), getting swept in a four-game set Aug. 20-23.

Tulowitzki missed that series recovering from a groin injury,

and he has a .420 average with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last

12 matchups. The All-Star shortstop, a career .328 hitter versus

New York, enters this series batting .325 with three homers and 11

RBIs.

Colorado is opening a 10-game homestand after completing a

three-game sweep of San Diego with Sunday’s 2-1 victory. The

Rockies also swept the Padres from April 5-7 in their only home

series so far.

“We’ve had some success on the road early, but for us to win a

division we have to dominate at home,” first-year manager Walt

Weiss told the team’s official website. “We have an opportunity now

to make somewhat of a statement.”

Weiss is scheduled to give Juan Nicasio (1-0, 4.91 ERA) his

first home start of the season in the first game, but he’s 0-2 with

a 7.27 ERA in his last four at Coors Field.

The right-hander struggled while not getting a decision last

Tuesday, surrendering four runs and five hits with five walks in

five innings of a 9-6 loss at San Francisco.

Nicasio is facing the Mets for the first time, and he’ll have to

contend with a team hitting .316 with two homers, six doubles and

two triples over the last two games.

New York has a .272 average with 15 homers while averaging 6.3

runs – 2.3 more than last year when it batted .249.

The team has established a franchise record by homering in each

of its 11 games this season, and is in position to become the first

club to homer in its first 12 since Tampa Bay in 2007.

Despite the power display, David Wright is still seeking his

first homer. The third baseman had four hits – two for extra bases

– and five RBIs over the past two games, and owns a .385 average –

his best at any NL park – with 33 RBIs in 29 visits to Coors.

Dillon Gee (0-2, 7.71) will start the opener for New York. He

earned a 7-5 win in his only start against the Rockies on April 28,

yielding four runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings. However,

Gee allowed Tulowitzki to go 2 for 3.

The right-hander has a 6.86 ERA while losing four straight road

starts. His latest performance away from New York was the shortest

start of his career, as he surrendered seven runs and 10 hits –

three homers – in three innings of last Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to

Philadelphia.

Jeff Francis (1-1, 5.87) gets the ball for Colorado in the

second game. The left-hander beat the Padres 5-2 with strong six

innings in his 2013 debut before getting roughed up at San

Francisco in the shortest start of his career Wednesday.

Francis allowed seven runs – four earned – and seven hits in 1

2-3 innings of a 10-0 loss. He’s 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts

against New York, with Wright going 6 for 13 with three homers in

their matchups.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he had not yet decided on a

starter for the nightcap, though it likely will be Aaron Laffey

(0-0, 5.06) or Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.00).

Laffey made his New York debut April 7 and didn’t receive a

decision after giving up three runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of

a 4-3 win over Miami. The left-hander then pitched a scoreless

inning of relief in Friday’s 16-5 win over the Twins.

Hefner pitched well in his first start of the season but allowed

five runs and six hits over three innings of a 7-3 loss to the

Phillies on Wednesday.

“Now, your pitching is drastically affected, along with your

pitching down the line a little bit,” Collins said. “… When

you’re scheduled to play in these two towns that we were in, you’ve

got a chance to run into bad weather at this time of year and we

have. We just adjust.”