5 things to watch during Mets-Rockies series at Citi Field

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Tomas Nido celebrates after home run blue road uniform
Tomas Nido celebrates after home run blue road uniform

The Mets are hurting, with their injured list full of key players that has diminished an offense that was already among the worst in baseball statistically and forced them to get creative with their pitching plans.

Yet they remain in first place in the NL East at 21-19, thanks mostly to the mediocrity that defines the division. And they seem to be catching a break with the schedule at a time they need it most, as the Colorado Rockies come to town for four games beginning Monday night.

At 18-29 the Rockies have the second-worst record in the National League and they are by far the worst road team in baseball. Remarkably, they’ve won only two games on the road all season. But they do have a bit of momentum, coming off a home three-game sweep of the equally-inept Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Mets won two of three games against the Rockies in Colorado last month. Can they take advantage of this scheduling opportunity?

Here are five things to look for in the series:

1) Jacob deGrom Returns Tuesday

At least that’s the plan, as Luis Rojas said on Sunday, and nothing could be more uplifting for the Mets than getting their ace back. DeGrom hasn’t pitched since May 9 due to tightness in his side that put him on the injured list, and he’s only made that one start since April 28.

Can he get right back to the dominance that made him the talk of baseball in April? Though he hasn’t pitched enough to qualify for official MLB statistics, his 0.68 ERA over six starts and 40 innings is easily the lowest among all starting pitchers.

On April 17, deGrom mostly overmatched the Rockies over six innings, racking up 14 strikeouts. He did give up three runs, including a home run to Ramiel Tapia, but none of the runs were earned and this was the rare game when the Mets’ offense delivered for deGrom, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh (in a seven-inning doubleheader game) to take a 4-3 lead and allow their ace to get the win.

2) Rockies Are Dreadful On The Road

It’s stunning how poorly the Rockies have played on the road, as reflected in their 2-17 record. They’re really two different teams, solid at home (16-12) but hapless on the road.

It starts with their pitching, which is supposed to be easier away from Coors Field, but is far worse for the Rockies. Check out the road ERAs of the four pitchers who will start against the Mets: Austin Gomer, 6.39; Chi Chi Gonzalez, 6.20, German Marquez, 4.60, and Antonio Senzatela, 8.59.

The Rockies don’t hit away from Coors either. They’ve been shut out seven times already in road games.

Apr 28, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Citi Field.
Apr 28, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Citi Field.

3) Who’s Behind The Plate?

Thanks to his hot bat, Tomas Nido has started four of the last six games, as Rojas is desperate to help his compromised offense. So will this trend continue? Has James McCann at least temporarily lost his status as the No. 1 catcher?

McCann, the $40 million free agent, has been great behind the plate, as advertised, but he has given the Mets almost nothing with the bat. He’s hitting .200 with only two extra-base hits (one home run) in 115 plate appearances.

Meanwhile, Nido is hitting .279 in 47 plate appearances with an impressive .852 OPS. After playing very little early, Nido has made the most of his opportunities recently, going 7-for-17 (.412) in his last five games, and, like McCann, he’s strong defensively as well.

4) If Francisco Lindor Is Ever Going To Get Hot…

This would seem to the perfect opportunity. Scouts remain mystified at Lindor’s ongoing struggles with the bat, as he’s hitting only .194 with a .285 slugging percentage. But the shortstop has hit better at Citi Field - .283 with a .743 OPS compared to .148 with a .492 OPS on the road.

Combine that with how poorly the Rockies have pitched on the road, and perhaps this is the week Lindor will get it going. With so many injuries in their lineup, the Mets desperately need their best players to carry them offensively right now.

5) Mets’ Pitching Could Dominate

With deGrom back on Tuesday, the Mets’ pitching lines up nicely for most of the series, with David Peterson, deGrom, and Marcus Stroman starting the first three games against a Rockies’ team that is hitting just .216 on the road.

As it is, pitching is keeping these Mets afloat. Even with the injuries, their starters have a 3.02 ERA, fourth in the NL, while the bullpen ERA of 3.70 ranks fifth in the league.

Peterson’s start on Monday is a test for the lefty. He’s looked very good at times this season but has shown a troubling habit of letting games get away with one bad inning, as happened Wednesday in Atlanta when the Braves scored three runs and knocked him out in the fifth. The Mets need him to bounce back to set a tone for this series.