After bouncing back quickly from an extra-inning loss, the Colorado Rockies got a much-deserved day off.
The Rockies, coming off a hard-fought series win, host the New York Mets in the opener of a three-game set Tuesday night.
Colorado (3-3) struggled against Milwaukee in its first series of the season but rebounded to win two of three against San Diego, taking the finale 4-2 on Sunday.
The Rockies prevailed despite a quick turnaround, having lost 5-4 in 14 innings Saturday night in the longest game in the majors this season.
An off day gave Colorado a chance to recharge, and allowed Carlos Gonzalez(notes) time to heal after leaving Sunday’s game with a tight left hamstring. The Rockies’ starting center fielder and leadoff hitter was injured when he scored from second on Troy Tulowitzki’s(notes) double in the third inning.
Manager Jim Tracy said Gonzalez is day to day.
Gonzalez is off to a strong start, hitting .393. He has scored or driven in a run in each of Colorado’s six games.
With the Rockies pitching so well, they may be able to overcome a potential Gonzalez absence. Colorado gave up two runs or fewer in two of three games against the Padres and has a 3.32 ERA this season.
The start was the left-hander’s first since 2008. Smith, who missed last season due to a back injury, is making his first appearance against the Mets (2-4).
If Smith can get the Rockies to the late innings with a lead, they should be in good hands. Their bullpen has been outstanding, striking out 17 in 20 2-3 innings and posting a 2.18 ERA.
“Our pitchers have done a huge job,” Tulowitzki said.
New York will counter with John Maine(notes) (0-0, 7.20), who surrendered four runs and eight hits - two homers - in five innings as New York lost 7-6 in 10 innings to Florida on Wednesday night. Maine, who has had nagging shoulder issues over the past two seasons, didn’t have as much velocity on his fastball as he has in previous years.
“We’ll continue to hope for that,” manager Jerry Manuel told the Mets’ official Web site. “He’s healthy and I don’t see why, being free from setbacks and those types of things, we won’t see that at some point.”
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in three starts versus the Rockies.
New York could certainly use a boost from Maine as it plays its first road game of the season, the opener of a six-game trip. The Mets failed to take advantage of an opening week at Citi Field, dropping two of three over the weekend against Washington.
“It’s six games,” said right fielder Jeff Francoeur(notes), who raised his average to .476 with two hits in a 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Sunday. “With that being said, we’d better get it going quick, because we’ve got some teams coming up that are really, really good.”
Francoeur drove in seven runs in his last five games at Colorado. The Mets took four of seven from the Rockies last season.
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