New York (56-60) at Colorado (53-65)

Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO, US
Temp: 51° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Tue Aug 17, 2004
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The New York Mets made some big moves at the trade deadline so they could have a quality starting pitcher going every night down the stretch. What they didn’t count on were injuries to three of their best offensive players.

With an injury-depleted lineup, the Mets look for another solid effort from right-hander Victor Zambrano when they open a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The Mets were already without catcher Mike Piazza (knee) and second baseman Jose Reyes (leg) when they put starting shortstop Kaz Matsui on the disabled list Sunday because of an injured back.

“We just can’t keep going short-handed,” Mets manager Art Howe said. ”(Matsui) hasn’t made very much progress … he wasn’t improving markedly.”

Matsui, who missed six games last week, had been limited to fielding grounders and light hitting in the cage. He is expected to join Piazza and Reyes in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for rehabilitation.

The Mets are tied for 28th in the majors with a .252 team batting average, and are 21st in runs scored with 519. So the pressure for the foreseeable future will be on the starting pitchers to hold down the opposition as much as possible.

Zambrano has won both of his starts for New York since being acquired from Tampa Bay on July 30.

Following a somewhat shaky outing in his Mets debut on Aug. 5 against Milwaukee, Zambrano allowed one unearned run and two hits over seven innings in a 2-1 win over Houston on Thursday.

“We knew if we could get him throwing strikes, he’d be tough to beat,” Howe said.

The 29-year-old right-hander, who was 9-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 23 appearances for Tampa Bay, has allowed just four earned runs over 12 1-3 innings with New York.

The Mets have won four of six, but are coming off a 2-0 loss to Arizona on Sunday.

The Rockies have lost two straight, including Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Pittsburgh.

Vinny Castilla has 13 RBIs in 14 games this month, putting him within one of his first 100-RBI season since driving in 102 runs during the end of his first tour of duty with Colorado in 1999.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Zambrano NYY vs. J. Jennings OAK
11-7 Record 11-12
4.37 ERA 5.51
123 K 133
102 BB 101
1.56 WHIP 1.70