The Mets looked to continue their road success in the first of four games against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night but failed. Bartolo Colon, who was coming off of a seven-inning, one-run game against St. Louis started for the Mets. Facing Colon was Juan Nicasio, coming off of a five-run, 4.1-inning shellacking at the hands of the division-rival Dodgers in his previous start. It turned out Nicasio would be the key to this game, as much with his bat as with his pitching arm.
Juan Lagares, freshly returned from the disabled list, led off the game with a well-struck double, reminding Mets fans just how much we missed watching him play. But the Mets were unable to capitalize on the opportunity and stranded him at second. In the bottom of the first, the Rockies were not so merciful, scoring the first run of the game on a solo shot by Carlos Gonzalez.
The second inning was uneventful for both sides, but the Rockies expanded their lead in the third. Colon coasted through the first two outs of the inning before giving up a single to Corey Dickerson. The Dickerson single was followed by another single by Charlie Culberson, putting runners at the corners. The Rockies pitcher then gave Mets pitchers a helpful reminder that pitchers are allowed to hit the ball, slapping a pitch down the line past Curtis Granderson to drive in two runs with a single. Colon managed to record the third out, preventing any further damage, but the Rockies had taken a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Rockies doubled their lead. The rally began with a rare Wilin Rosario walk. A throwing error by Lucas Duda on a Corey Dickerson bunt attempt allowed runners to reach second and third. Bartolo Colon then hit Charlie Culberson with a pitch, loading the bases. This was the first time Colon had hit a batter in 50 starts, ending a rather impressive streak.
Juan Nicasio continued his productive play at the plate, hitting a sharp line drive to Juan Lagares that almost got over his head. Lagares secured the catch, but Rosario scored on the sac fly. Charlie Blackmon continued his torrid hitting, adding an RBI single to the inning, and finally Nolan Arenado collected another sac fly to make the score 6-0 before the Mets could escape the inning.
The Rockies relentless onslaught continued in the fifth, on a Justin Morneau single followed by an RBI triple by Corey Dickerson. At this point Colon was pulled from the game in favor of Jeurys Familia, ending his night with a final line of 4.1 innings pitched, ten hits, seven earned runs, three strikeouts and one walk, a decided step down from his previous outing. Familia came on and struck out the only hitter he would face, Charlie Culberson, to end the inning.
The Mets brought in Gonzalez Germen in the bottom of the sixth to replace Familia. Germen retired the side in order to give the Mets a rare clean inning for the evening. Germen returned for the 7th and recorded two quick outs before giving up a double to Troy Tulowitzki, but Wilin Rosario grounded out to David Wright to end yet another scoring threat.
Juan Nicasio was replaced in the top of the eighth inning, ending the night with a shutout intact, scattering three hits and one walk over seven innings. Nicasio was replaced by highly touted pitching prospect Chad Bettis. The Mets must have been relieved to see Nicasio leave the game, and promptly went to work getting on the board. Bobby Abreu drew a two out walk for the Mets, pinch hitting for Germen. Juan Lagares then continued to pick up right where he left off before his DL stint, collecting his second double of the day and breaking the shutout bid by Colorado, driving in Bobby Abreu.
In the bottom of the eighth, Jose Valverde came in and pitched a clean inning, notching two strikeouts. This brought the Mets to their final chance to salvage some sense of dignity in the game. Chris Young slapped a two out single, and Curtis Granderson collected a rare base hit, moving Chris Young to second. Travis d'Arnaud then made things interesting, slugging a 3-run home run, his second of the season to bring the Mets within three. The Mets were unable to do further damage in the ninth, and the Rockies won the game with a final score of 7-4.
While the score made the game look close, the Mets offense was silent for most of the night. There were two high points which should inspire some sense of optimism from an otherwise unpleasant game. The strong return by Juan Lagares should provide Mets fans with a measure of relief, as Lagares was one of the most important contributors to the offense prior to his DL stint. The home run by d'Arnaud was his second of the season, and hopefully a sign his power is starting to come around.
With d'Arnaud's bat starting to heat up and Lagares back in the lineup, the Mets can hope their offensive output will be more consistent moving forward. They'll have their next chance to find out tomorrow when they look to even the series against Colorado.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Juan Lagares, 4.4% WPA; Eric Young Jr., 0.5% WPA
Big losers: Bartolo Colon, -26.3% WPA; David Wright -8.8% WPA; Daniel Murphy -7.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Carlos Gonzalez GIDP, +4.1%
Teh sux0rest play: Juan Nicasio 2-RBI single, -14.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -25.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -24.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Charlie Blackmon two RBI single in the 4th