Rockies roll into New York to take on desperate Mets

NEW YORK — The Colorado Rockies headed to New York this week fueled by the best run their rotation has enjoyed in almost three years. Maybe some of the Rockies’ success will rub off on the New York Mets‘ struggling starting pitchers.

The Mets just might be desperate enough to bank on the power of proximity Friday night when they open a three-game series against the Rockies at Citi Field.

Zack Wheeler (2-1, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Mets against German Marquez (1-3, 5.14 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

The Rockies were off Thursday after earning their second straight win Wednesday, when they cruised past the host Chicago Cubs 11-2. The Mets absorbed their first series sweep of the season Thursday when the visiting Atlanta Braves capped the three-game set with an 11-0 rout.

The shutout was the second straight suffered by the Mets (17-12), who fell out of first place while being outscored by the Braves 21-2 over the three games. New York had just six hits in the final two games and didn’t record a hit against Julio Teheran on Thursday until Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-out double in the seventh inning.

The Mets opened the season 11-1 but haven’t won back-to-back games since.

“I’m sure there’s guys scrambling — I don’t think everybody’s scrambling,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said following Thursday’s game. “It’s part of a long season, and that’s where processes and routines and making sure that you’re taking care of everything you can possibly take care of, so you can go out there and have confidence, whether you’re going good or bad.”

The Mets’ skid has been deepened by the struggles of the middle and back of its rotation. While aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have combined to post a 2.46 ERA in 14 starts, the quartet of Wheeler, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas have recorded a 6.29 ERA in 15 starts, including an 8.64 ERA in nine starts over New York’s last 17 games.

Wheeler at least provided himself something to build off in his most recent start on Sunday, when he earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings as New York beat the San Diego Padres 14-2.

The rotation hasn’t been an issue lately for the Rockies, whose last four starters (Chad Bettis. Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson) have pitched at least seven innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer — the longest such streak for the team since a four-game run from June 6-9, 2015. Colorado is 5-3 over the last eight games, during which the starters have compiled a 1.68 ERA.

“The momentum is great,” Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado told reporters following Wednesday’s game. “The starting pitching lately has kind of carried us.”

Marquez took the loss in his most recent start last Saturday, giving up three runs (one earned) over six innings as the Rockies fell to the Miami Marlins, 4-1.

Wheeler took the loss in his only previous start and appearance against the Rockies on May 2, 2014, when he gave up seven runs (four earned) over four innings as the Mets fell 10-3. Marquez didn’t factor into the decision in his lone career start and appearance against New York last Aug. 3 when he allowed three runs over six innings in the Rockies’ 5-4 win.