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Mets head west for three-game set against Rockies in snowy Denver

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The first place Mets are riding high after sweeping the Phillies.

Colorado Rockies versus the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The first place Mets (5-3) travel to Denver to take on the Rockies (3-10) as they try to keep building momentum amid a slew of weather-related starts and stops, which now includes a Friday night snow out at Coors Field. This will be the first time the Mets have traveled outside of the Eastern Time Zone since the 2019 season, as the club was sequestered on the East Coast last year in an effort to avoid extensive traveling as a pandemic-related safety precaution. During their last trip to The Centennial State in September 2019, the Mets took two out of three games from the Rockies.

After falling to 2-3 on Saturday and sitting around for two days as the wicked weather cleared up, the Mets took the field on Tuesday and swept a doubleheader from the Phillies behind stellar performances from Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman. In the first game, Dom Smith got the party started with a two-run homer in the first to help the Mets grab the early lead. Philadelphia came back to tie it, and they cashed in the runner on second to take the lead in the eighth against Trevor May. New York stormed back in the bottom half of the frame, as Pete Alonso led off with a run-scoring single. After the Mets loaded the bases, Jonathan Villar played hero with an opposite-field single to give New York the 4-3 win.

In the nightcap, Stroman cruised through six shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out three. A few hours after contributing the walk-off hit, Villar knocked in the team’s first run with a fourth inning double, which proved to be the game-winning run. Brandon Nimmo brought home two more in the fourth with a single, and he added a run-scoring hit in the sixth for good measure as the Mets cruised to a 4-0 victory. During the doubleheader, the team went a combined 6-for-21 with runners in scoring position, which was a noticeable improvement from recent results.

New York completed the rain-shortened sweep on Wednesday evening with a 5-1 victory. David Peterson rebounded from his rough start at Citizens Bank Park on April 7 and outdueled former Met Zack Wheeler to earn the win. The Mets kicked off the game with three straight singles and scored two runs in that first inning. They added an insurance run in the seventh, and James McCann provided the exclamation mark with a two-run home run in the eighth, his first as a Met.

The starting pitching has remained the team’s biggest strength up to this point. The rotation has posted a 2.34 ERA through two turns in the rotation, with Jacob deGrom’s 0.64 ERA learning the way. The offense, which was predicted by many to be the team’s strength this season, rebounded after a tough go-around early on. It’s impossibly difficult to get into a groove when you aren’t playing much, and the weather has continued to wreak havoc and stop the bats before they can build up momentum. Hopefully, the uneven schedule is in the past and the team can establish some consistency.

Leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo has been terrific, going 6-for-11 with a pair of walks to increase his league-leading average to .464 and his league-leading on-base percentage to .583. His OPS on the season now stands at 1.155 following his hot start. Francisco Lindor, who got off to a bit of a cold start, went 3-for-10 against Philadelphia, though he is still looking for his first home run as a Met. Overall, the club slashed .307/.404/.432 over the three-game sweep. Their 109 wRC+ and their .726 OPS put them at fourth in the National League in both categories, behind the Dodgers, the Reds, and the Padres.

The Rockies are heading in the opposite direction from the Mets as the series kicks off, having lost six straight and ten of their last twelve since defeating the Dodgers on Opening Day. They are coming off back-to-back road sweeps against the Giants and the Dodgers, and they were outscored 29-11 during that stretch. The Rockies’ plight is hardly surprising, as the club threw a whole bunch of money at the Cardinals over the offseason to take superstar Nolan Arenado off of their hands, leaving them with a giant hole in the middle of their lineup.

Trevor Story, who will headline a stacked shortstop free agent market next winter, has gotten off to a chilly start, slashing .260/.302/.360 with a 63 wRC+ and a -0.1 fWAR in 13 games so far this season. So has first baseman C.J. Cron, whom the club signed to a minor league contract over the winter. In 11 games, Cron is hitting .189/.302/.243 with a 47 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR. Neither player has hit a home run to date this season. As a unit, the Rockies have struggled offensively, posting a team .224/.277/.388 slash line with 15 home runs, a 64 wRC+, and a -0.2 fWAR. Their 55 runs scored puts them at ninth in the NL.

The Mets will have to be careful with third baseman Ryan McMahon, who has been Colorado’s best hitter by a mile. McMahon is leading the club in all offensive categories, including home runs (6), runs batted in (10), average (.306), OBP (.320), SLG (.755), OPS (1.075), wRC+ (169), and fWAR (0.6). Chris Owings, the utility infielder who has gotten off to a scorching-hot 8-for-15 start in seven games, which includes a league-leading three triples, will miss the series against the Mets. Owings landed on the IL last Saturday with a thumb injury and will not be eligible to return for this series.

Saturday, April 17: Jacob deGrom vs. Chi Chi González, 5:10 p.m. on SNY

deGrom (2021): 14.0 IP, 21 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 0.64 ERA, 1.55 FIP, 0.71 WHIP, 1.1 bWAR

(Take Two/Three): Look, I don’t mean to sound by a broken record, but get a load of those numbers. Just...please look at those numbers! That man has one loss and a no decision this season. The Mets have proven themselves to be the Jacob deGrom of not scoring runs for Jacob deGrom, dating back to his historic 2018 campaign. Jake was positively sublime last Saturday, striking out 14 Marlins without walking a batter and surrendering just the one home run on five hits in eight innings. It was the fourth time he struck out 14 in a game, and his third time against the Marlins. The ace was equally impressive in his first start against the Phillies, tossing six scoreless innings and striking out 7 on just 77 pitches. What more can he do to get this team a win?

González (2021): 10.0 IP, 5 K, 6 BB, 0 HR, 3.60 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

Gonzalez will get his second start of the season after earning his team’s confidence with his 5 inning, one-run performance against the Giants. In that start, he gave up four hits, walked three batters, and only struck out one, but he was able to tip toe around baserunners and mitigate the damage. Before that, the right-hander made two relief appearances, including an Opening Day win when he allowed three runs in two innings against the Dodgers while pitching the fifth and sixth innings. His second relief outing against the Dodgers on April 4 went significantly better, as he tossed three hitless innings with two walks and two strikeouts.

Saturday, April 17: Joey Lucchesi vs. Germán Márquez, ~30 minutes after Game One on SNY

Lucchesi (2021): 2.0 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA, 0.14 FIP, 0.50 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR

The Mets have not needed a fifth starter yet this season due to a barrage of postponements, so Lucchesi will finally get his first start with his new team on Saturday. The left-hander did make one appearance, pitching two scoreless innings in relief on April 7, when he struck out three batters while allowing one hit. Mets fans will get to experience Lucchesi’s unique “churve”, which will feature heavily in his arsenal. Lucchesi came over in the three-team deal with the Padres and Pirates, which will now forever be remembered in the baseball world after trade centerpiece Joe Musgrove threw the first no-hitter in Padres history.

Márquez (2021): 15.2 IP, 14 K, 11 BB, 3 HR, 4.02 ERA, 5.95 FIP, 1.79 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

The Rockie rotation stalwart has had an uneven start to the year. In his last start, he navigated past a rocky first to pitch into the sixth inning, but he allowed a lot of baserunners in the process. He threw 97 pitches over 5.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks to go along with a season-high seven strikeouts. The Mets haven’t seen the right-hander since 2018, when he earned victories in each of his two starts against New York while allowing a combined six earned runs in 12 innings.

Sunday, April 18: Marcus Stroman vs. Antonio Senzatela, 3:10 p.m. on SNY

Stroman (2021): 12.0 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 0.75 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 0.75 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR

Stroman had a wacky week. After throwing just nine pitches on Sunday before the wet weather washed away his start, it looked like the club had lost him until the Rockies series. After throwing on Monday—another day that the Mets were rained out—he deemed himself ready to go for the team’s Tuesday doubleheader. Stroman was simply splendid that evening to help his club complete the sweep, tossing six shutout innings to earn his second victory of the year. He would have finished the game off, but he spent a long time on the base paths after drawing a walk in the sixth inning, and he and Rojas decided it was best for him to exit.

Senzatela (2021): 14.0 IP, 7 K, 5 BB, 3 HR, 7.07 ERA, 6.21 FIP, 1.64 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Coming off a year in which he posted a career-best 3.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 2.2 BB/9, Colorado was hoping the 26-year-old had put it all together. Through three starts this year, he has been as inconsistent as he has ever been. In his middle start this year, he hurled eight shutout innings against the Giants to earn the victory. In his other two outings against the Dodgers, he allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings, and five runs (four earned) on five hits in 2.2 innings his last time out. So which Senzatela will show up on Sunday? Tune in to find out!

Prediction: The Mets make it back-to-back sweeps as they take all three in Denver!

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Rockies?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    The Mets reach a rocky mountain high as they sweep the Rockies!
    (25 votes)
  • 52%
    The snow can’t slow down the Mets as they take two of three.
    (43 votes)
  • 2%
    The Mets fall back to earth a bit as they drop two of three.
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    The Mets are rocked as they’re swept away at Coors Field.
    (1 vote)
  • 13%
    Pizza!
    (11 votes)
82 votes total Vote Now