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.