Mets/Rockies Preview: Series Starts Tonight!


The Mets will take on their first non-NL East team today when they face the Colorado Rockies in a four-game series at Citi Field. With ace Ubaldo Jimenez on the DL, the Rockies might appear vulnerable–but then again, the Rockies are also in first place in the NL West with a 6-2 record. The Rockies have received splendid outings from Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge de la Rosa, and Esmil Rogers, and have an exciting offense led by Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitski, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, and Dexter Fowler. Essentially, the Mets have to play good baseball in order to prevent further damage to their already-sub-.500 record.

PITCHING MATCH-UPS

Game 1: 4/11/11 (7:10 PM)
Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 15.63 ERA, 2.68 WHIP, 0.60 K/BB): Mike Pelfrey was tabbed as the Mets “ace” before the reason, but he’s yet to look it. Pelfrey pitched 4.3 innings in his 2011 debut against the Marlins, giving up 4 hits, 5 earned-runs, 4 walks, and striking out 2. The right-handed looked even worse against the Phillies, hurling just 2 innings of 8-hit, 6 earned-run ball, walking 1, and striking out a batter. His 0.60 K/BB ratio on the season illustrates his command issues, but it would be shocking if the 27 year-old continued his woeful start for the entire season. (Careers vs. Rockies: .258/.333/.351 line with a 2.63 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 2.00 K/BB ratio)

Jason Hammel (1-0, 7.20 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 0.67 K/BB): Hammel came over to the Rockies via the Tampa Bay Rays in an April 2009 trade. Despite posting a promising 4.33 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB ratio in 2009, Hammel’s ERA ballooned to 4.81 in 2010, and even bounced an incredible 13 wild pitches too. He might no longer be the upper-tier starting pitcher the Rays formerly thought he’d be, but he’s settled-in as a respectable mid-to-lower-rotation option for the Rockies. (Career vs. Mets: .405/.400/.486 line with a 9.72 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, and 5.00 K/BB ratio)

Game 2: 4/12/11 (7:10 PM)
Jon Niese (0-1, 6.55 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 5.00 K/BB): Niese looked more like an Opening Day starter than Pelfrey in his first start this season, hurling 7 quality innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 earned-runs, 1 walk, and striking out 3 batters. But in his second start, the lefty looked more human (4 innings, 8 hits, 6 earned-runs, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts). Niese’s abilities are obviously somewhere in-between, so as long as the youngster can endure a full-season of baseball, he might become the glowing star in the Mets rotation. (Career vs. Rockies: .301/.358/.479 line with a 4.91 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 2.40 K/BB ratio)

Esmil Rogers (1-0, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 7.00 K/BB): Rogers was originally signed as a shortstop by the Rockies, but the franchise made the smart decision to let him take the hill instead. While the hard-throwing right-hander only owns a less-than-mediocre 6.04 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, and 2.46 K/BB ratio in 76 career Major League innings, Rogers has surprised fans by running out of the box so far in 2011. There is still a journey-ahead for the rather newish pitcher, but it’s hard to ignore his debut outing. (Career vs. Mets: .182/.308/.182 line with a 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 2.00 K/BB ratio)

Game 3: 4/13/11 (7:10 PM)
R.A. Dickey (1-1, 2.45 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 1.25 K/BB): Dickey doesn’t appear to be a 2010 fluke, but his pinpoint control from last season hasn’t quite shown up yet. The knuckleballer posted a spotless 2.2 BB/9 IP last season, but has already racked up 8 walks (6.5 BB/9 IP) in 11 IP in 2011. Also, after picking up a win in his debut this season, shutting out the Marlins over 6 innings, allowing only 5 hits, 3 walks, and striking out 7 batters, Dickey couldn’t keep Nationals hitters off-base or off-balance (5 innings, 6 hits, 3 earned-runs, 5 walks, and 3 strikeouts). If Dickey can control his knuckleball, Mets fans need not worry. (Career vs. Rockies: no record)

Greg Reynolds (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 1.00 K/BB): With all the hoopla surrounding Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge de la Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, and now Esmil Rogers, it’s easy to forget about Greg Reynolds. However, it’s important to remember that Reynolds is a former 2nd overall pick from the 2006 draft. The right-hander hasn’t exactly blow hitters away in the minors (career 3.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP. 2.38 K/BB ratio), but the Rockies have now given the former top prospect a chance to prove his first round worthiness. (Career vs. Mets: .204/.264/..429 line with a 4.85 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 1.75 K/BB ratio)

Game 4: 4/14/11 (1:10 PM)
Chris Capuano (1-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 4.00 K/BB): His 2011 season stats look ugly, but sometimes stats can be deceiving. Aside from a blow-up relief appearance in the first series of the season, Capuano’s debut as a starter was extremely promising. The former Brewer pitched 6 innings against the Nationals, giving up 7 hits, 4 earned-runs, 1 walk, and an astounding 8 strikeouts. The lefty gave-up 2 homeruns in the contest–which resulted in the 4 earned-runs–but those 8 strikeouts stand-out as his potential for the season. It will be interesting to see if Capuano can curb the gopheritis in 2011. (Career vs. Rockies: .228/.291/.344 line with a 2.98 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 2.38 K/BB ratio)

Jhoulys Chacin (2-0, 2.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 1.75 K/BB): Chacin opened a lot of eyes in 2010, when he posted a 3.28 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 2.26 K/BB ratio in 137.3 IP. However, his 4.0 BB/9 IP ratio seemed to cast a shadow over his successes. So far this season, Chacin has been done well, but his pedestrian 1.75 K/BB ratio suggests that there’s a little bit more to his 2.77 ERA/1.23 WHIP, and that 2011 will be a season of growing pains. (Career vs. Mets: .333/.500/.333 line with a 0.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and 1.00 K/BB ratio)

ROCKIES OFFENSE OVERVIEW

Gone are the days of Dante Bichette, Larry Walker, Vinny Castilla, and Todd Helton. Well, actually, Todd Helton is still there–but he’s no longer relied on for run production. In his place are exciting homegrown talent like Troy Tulowitski, Carlos Gonzalez (via trade), Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Dexter Fowler, and Seth Smith. Despite tearing his left quad tendon in 2008 and fracturing his wrist in 2010, the Rockies still felt confident enough in their starting shortstop’s health to hand him a historic six year extension worth around $120 million. Tulo has hit as many as 32 HR in a single season, and posted an MVP-worthy .315/.381/.568 line with 27 HR, 95 RBI, 89 R, and 11 SB season in 2011. One of the few players in the NL who was arguably more valuable with the bat was Rockies outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez. Acquired in the Matt Holliday trade, “Cargo” posted a terrific .336/.376/.598 line with 34 HR, 117 RBI, 111 R, and 26 SB. With Tulowitzki and Gonzalez at the helm–as well as guys like Ianettta, Stewart, Fowler, and Smith–the Rockies offense is a menace for opposing pitchers, to say at least.

BATTING LINE-UP SPLITS

Mets vs. Righties (Hammel, Rogers, Reynolds, and Chacin)
SS Jose Reyes
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Ike Davis
C Josh Thole
2B Brad Emaus
LF Willie Harris

Rockies vs. Lefties (Niese and Capuano)
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Jose Lopez
LF Carlos Gonzalez
SS Troy Tulowitski
1B Todd Helton
RF Ryan Spilborghs
3B Ty Wigginton/Ian Stewart (depending on health)
C Chris Iannetta

Rockies vs. Righties (Pelfrey and Dickey)
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Jonathan Herrera
LF Carlos Gonzalez
SS Troy Tulowitski
1B Todd Helton
RF Seth Smith
3B Jose Lopez/Ty Wigginton/Ian Stewart (depending on health)
C Chris Iannetta

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Tags: Ben Berkon Carlos Gonzalez Chris Capuano Chris Iannetta Colorado Rockies Dexter Fowler Esmil Rogers Greg Reynolds Ian Stewart Jason Hammel Jhoulys Chacin Jon Niese Mets Mets Rockies Mets Rockies Preview Mike Pelfrey New York New York Mets New York Mets Colorado Rockies New York Mets Colorado Rockies Preview R.A. Dickey Rising Apple Rockies Troy Tulowitski