MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies

Rockies Series Preview July 14-16

The Mets host Colorado this weekend for a three-game series to kick off the unofficial second half of the season, one which figures to see significant roster turnover with Terry Collins’ club facing double-digit deficits in both the division and Wild Card races.

The Rockies come out of the All-Star break with a rather firm grip on the National League’s second WC spot, 13 over the .500 mark and 7.5 games in front of St. Louis and the reigning World Series champion Cubs. A lead of that size can vanish quickly, though, as the team is all too aware.

As recently as June 20, Colorado sat atop the NL West before a dismal 5-13 stretch dropped them into third place, 9.5 back of the surging Dodgers heading into Friday’s matchup.

When and Where

Game 1: Friday @ 7:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 2: Saturday @ 7:10 p.m. EST (TV: WPIX; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Game 3: Sunday @ 1:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)

Baseball Weather

Friday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms with a low near 70F and winds from 5-10 mph; Chance of rain 60%

Saturday: Clear with a low of 69F and winds from 5-10 mph

Sunday: Sunny with a high of 86F and winds from 5-10 mph

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Jon Gray (2-0, 3.75 ERA, 3.81 DRA, .260 TAv, 0.5 WARP) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (9-3, 3.65 ERA, 2.85 DRA, .243 TAv, 3.4 WARP)

Gray has been sharp in two starts since returning from a stress fracture in his left foot, most recently earning the win against Cincinnati last Wednesday behind 5.2 innings of three-run (two earned) ball – a game in which he also hit his first career home run, a mammoth 467-foot shot that was the longest by a pitcher in the Statcast era. The young fireballer is looking to win his third in a row.

The Mets counter with their ace, who won his fifth straight start on Friday in St. Louis despite surrendering a career-high four home runs. Over the five-game stretch, deGrom has held opponents to a .170 average with 36 strikeouts in 39 innings, resulting in a 1.62 ERA.

Saturday: RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-10, 4.42 ERA, 3.86 DRA, .259 TAv, 2.0 WARP) vs. RHP Seth Lugo (3-2, 4.59 ERA, 7.13 DRA, .286 TAv, -0.6 WARP)

Chatwood lost his league-leading 10th game last Thursday versus the Reds, allowing three runs over six innings. The 27-year-old has not won since June 8, although he has pitched much better than his record shows during that stretch.

Lugo appeared out of the bullpen on Sunday, charged with one run in three frames at Busch Stadium. His last start came in Washington, a loss in which he allowed six runs on ten hits over five innings.

Sunday: RHP Jeff Hoffman (5-1, 4.15 ERA, 4.73 DRA, .231 TAv, 0.5 WARP) vs. LHP Steven Matz (2-2, 3.05 ERA, 4.80 DRA, .240 TAv, 0.3 WARP)

Drafted ninth overall by Toronto in 2014 and acquired a year later in the Troy Tulowitzki deal that also involved Jose Reyes, Hoffman did not factor in the decision on Saturday against the White Sox – pitching seven innings of four-run ball in a Rockies loss.

Matz, meanwhile, had his second rough start of the season last time out, leaving with one out in the fifth after giving up five earned runs on seven hits, including two home runs.

Who’s Hot?

Mets RF Jay Bruce (6-for-12 with 2 home runs in the Cardinals series)

Mets SS/3B Jose Reyes (4-for-11 with a homer in St. Louis)

Rockies OF Gerardo Parra (.538 AVG (7-for-13) with 5 RBIs after missing a month with a strained right quad)

Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon (6-for-13 with 2 home runs and 5 runs scored vs. White Sox)

Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado (5-for-13 with 2 homers and 7 RBIs in the Chicago series)

Who’s Not?

Mets LF Yoenis Cespedes (.087/.125/.087 slash line in July with no extra-base hits)

Mets 2B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera (1-for-19 (.053) in his last 6 games)

Mets 1B Lucas Duda (one hit in his last 23 plate appearances)

When We Last Met

The Rockies visited Queens last July 28-31 and took three of four on the Mets’ home turf. New York salvaged the series finale behind Neil Walker’s three-run shot in the seventh off of Boone Logan.

It’s Literally a 10-Day DL

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (testicular cancer treatments) was expected to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday, scheduled to make the start for Double-A Hartford. 1B Ian Desmond (strained right calf) is eligible to return for the series opener, although the team has not confirmed whether or not he will be activated on Friday.

Mets: RHP Jeurys Familia (blood clot in shoulder) has begun a throwing program, but is still several weeks away. LHP Josh Smoker (left shoulder strain) continued his rehab assignment this week, most recently throwing two innings for Class-A St. Lucie on Monday.

Notable Quotables

“I can’t really describe it. It’s just pure joy, I guess. Seeing that thing fall in there was pretty special for me.” – Mets OF Michael Conforto on hitting a single off of Toronto’s Roberto Osuna in his first All-Star Game at-bat

“He’s our run producer. He’s in the middle of the lineup and we’ve got to get him going. When you see what he’s done in the past I think he’s doing the same things. I’ve watched his cage work. I’ve watched him hit on the field. He’s just not barreling up the ball.” – Collins on Cespedes’ prolonged slump

“It’s going to be a tough second half but we’re playing meaningful baseball games and that’s all you can ask for from us and it’s a good feeling. It’s a great feeling and we put ourselves in a good position. We needed the All-Star break. We were kind of struggling a little bit, but hopefully we can get recharged and ready to go.” – Arenado on his club’s rollercoaster-like first half

Photo credit: Ron Chenoy – USA Today Sports

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