In his first full season in the majors, Jason Jennings won 16 games and was named National League rookie of the year. Duplicating that performance isn’t as easy as he may have thought.
On Monday, Jennings gave up three earned runs and six hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Expos.
The 25-year-old righty pitched well, but lost the game on a slider to Vladimir Guerrero that ended up over the center-field wall.
“He battled, gave us a shot to win,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said of Jennings. “The 1-2 pitch to Guerrero hurt.
“We’ve had some problems in situations with 1-2 counts, 0-2 counts this year, more than you’d really like to admit. We’re to the point where we’re going to try to deal with it in a little different fashion.”
Jennings agreed that pitching ahead in the count can be tricky.
“Sometimes you may try to throw it too hard or make (the pitch) extra-nasty,” Jennings said. “That’s when you sometimes try to overthrow it.”
Monday’s loss was Jennings’ fourth in five decisions. However, over that six-start stretch, he has given up three or fewer earned runs while lasting at least six innings four times.
“It’s not always going to be pretty,” Jennings said. “Very rarely am I going to have a start like I had in Minnesota (three hits in 7 2-3 scoreless innings on June 10) or Pittsburgh (one earned run in seven innings of a loss on Aug. 2).
“Most starts you have, you’re going to run into some trouble. That’s what pitching is all about. Sometimes pitching is about damage control.”
Colorado lost 13-4 to New York on Saturday, its third straight defeat and sixth in seven games.
Rookie Jose Reyes had two doubles for the Mets, who have won a season-high four straight and six of eight.
STANDINGS: Rockies - 4th place, 14 GB, NL West. Mets - 5th place, 27 1/2 GB, NL East.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Jennings (10-10, 4.74 ERA). Jennings, who made his major league debut at Shea on Aug. 23, 2001, is 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA in three career starts against the Mets.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Al Leiter (11-6, 4.68 ERA). On Sunday, Leiter gave up four runs—three earned—and five hits in five innings of a 7-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks—his first loss in four decisions. In 12 career starts against the Rockies, he is 9-3 with a 3.80 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .354 avg. and 108 runs; Preston Wilson, 30 HRs and 115 RBIs; Tony Womack, 11 SBs. Mets - Cliff Floyd, .283 avg., 18 HRs and 66 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 61 runs; Reyes, 11 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Mets, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - 1B Helton, who knocked in his 100th run for the fifth straight season Saturday, fouled a ball off his leg in the fifth inning and was taken out of the game as a precaution after hitting a double. Helton and OF Wilson became the first teammates this season to reach 100 RBIs. … The Rockies are just 2-8 in their last 10 games on the road. … OF Wilson, who was drafted by the Mets in 1992, has gone 0-for-7 with no homers and one RBI in the series. Mets - OF Timo Perez set a career high with four RBIs Saturday. … LHP John Franco made his 1,023rd appearance Saturday, moving him into fifth place on the career list. … SS Reyes extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games on Saturday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 20-45 on the road; Mets - 27-35 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - C Bobby Estalella (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Mark Bellhorn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Nelson Cruz (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL; 1B Helton (leg), day-to-day. Mets - 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL.
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