After two heartbreaking losses, the Mets looked to bounce back against the Rockies with Steven Matz on the mound Friday night. Tyler Chatwood, who has posted very solid numbers for a pitcher who spends half his time at Coors Field, opposed the Mets, who have gone 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position over the past two games. Michael Conforto started in center field again, while Travis d’Arnaud finally got moved up in the lineup, slotting in between Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes in the two spot.
Matz clearly didn’t have his best stuff, and the Rockies jumped on him early. Charlie Blackmon lead off the top of the first with a single, but Matz seemed well on his way to escaping trouble after inducing a force out from D.J. LeMahieu and a groundout from Nolan Arenado. LeMahieu then stole second with two outs before Carlos Gonzalez drove a double to centerfield to put the Rockies up 1-0.
The Mets wouldn’t trail for long, however. In the bottom half of the first, Curtis Granderson lead off with a walk, but he was promptly erased on a ground ball double play from Travis d’Arnaud. Yoenis Cespedes ground out to meekly end the first inning. In the second, James Loney lead off with a long home run to right center field to tie the game. The Mets continued to threaten that inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Granderson popped out to end the threat.
For the next three innings, the score remained tied at one. Matz weaved his way in and out of trouble as he fought to keep the Mets in the game. The Rockies put runners on the corners with no outs in the third, but Matz induced a pop out and two strikeouts to escape the threat. The Rockies put a runner on in the fourth and two on base in the fifth, but Matz prevented them from scoring in those instances as well. While the Mets offense was basically non-existent, recording no hits and only one walk, Matz managed to keep the game tied.
The Rockies finally broke through in the sixth. Trevor Story and Mark Reynolds started the inning with a single and a double, putting runners on second and third with no outs. David Dahl flew out to shallow left, but Nick Hundley came through with an RBI single to left that scored Story and put the Rockies up 2-1. Matz induced a ground out from Charlie Blackmon to escape the threat and end his night (6 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 5 K, 1 BB), but the floundering Mets offense now had a deficit to overcome.
Somewhat predictably, they failed to do much overcoming. The Mets went down in order in both the sixth and seventh before putting runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth. You can probably guess what happened next. Travis d’Arnaud hit into a force out, Cespedes popped out, and Loney grounded out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Mets bullpen continued its recent struggles. Erik Goeddel relieved Matz and kept the Rockies off the board in the seventh. He faltered in the eighth, however, allowing a solo home run to Reynolds that stretched the Rockies lead to 3-1. Antonio Bastardo then entered for the ninth and let the game slip away. Charlie Blackmon doubled and Nolan Arenado was intentionally walked with two outs to pitch to Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez then launched a hanging slider out to right center field for a three run home run that gave the Rockies a 6-1 lead.
Needless to say, the Mets didn’t score five runs to tie in the ninth (it’d be a miracle if they scored five runs in a game period at this point). Neil Walker led off with a single, advanced to second on a ground out from Wilmer Flores, but didn’t advance further as Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Conforto were retired to end the game. The Mets finished 0-for-6 with runner in scoring position as the offense continues to flail.
With the loss, the Mets are now 16-18 against teams below .500 since May 1st and have fallen a season high seven games out of first place. A wild card berth also continues to slip away, as the Mets are now 2.5 games back of the Cardinals with the Pirates and Marlins also in the way.
Tonight, the Mets will try to at least make a series split possible, as Bartolo Colon will pitch on short rest against comparative youngster Jorge De La Rosa.
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