Mets-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The opponent and city may change, but the weather continues to be an additional hurdle for the New York Mets.

Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies have been challenging enough.

After having their last two contests postponed, the Mets try to solve Tulowitzki and end a four-game skid to the Rockies when these teams play a split-doubleheader Tuesday.

New York (7-4) spent the weekend freezing in Minneapolis, and Sunday's finale of a three-game series was postponed to Aug. 19 due to rain and snow. The Mets outscored the Twins 20-7 to win the first two games, overcoming temperatures in the 30s.

The first contest of this four-game set was postponed Monday because of a heavy snowstorm, and forecasts call for additional snow Tuesday.

The Mets have won four of five in Denver, including two of three April 27-29, but that series was played with temperatures reaching as high as 60.

New York, though, is 4-10 in the last 14 overall meetings with the Rockies (8-4), getting swept in a four-game set Aug. 20-23.

Tulowitzki missed that series recovering from a groin injury, and he has a .420 average with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last 12 matchups. The All-Star shortstop, a career .328 hitter versus New York, enters this series batting .325 with three homers and 11 RBIs.

Colorado is opening a 10-game homestand after completing a three-game sweep of San Diego with Sunday's 2-1 victory. The Rockies also swept the Padres from April 5-7 in their only home series so far.

"We've had some success on the road early, but for us to win a division we have to dominate at home," first-year manager Walt Weiss told the team's official website. "We have an opportunity now to make somewhat of a statement."

Weiss is scheduled to give Juan Nicasio (1-0, 4.91 ERA) his first home start of the season in the first game, but he's 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in his last four at Coors Field.

The right-hander struggled while not getting a decision last Tuesday, surrendering four runs and five hits with five walks in five innings of a 9-6 loss at San Francisco.

Nicasio is facing the Mets for the first time, and he'll have to contend with a team hitting .316 with two homers, six doubles and two triples over the last two games.

New York has a .272 average with 15 homers while averaging 6.3 runs - 2.3 more than last year when it batted .249.

The team has established a franchise record by homering in each of its 11 games this season, and is in position to become the first club to homer in its first 12 since Tampa Bay in 2007.

Despite the power display, David Wright is still seeking his first homer. The third baseman had four hits - two for extra bases - and five RBIs over the past two games, and owns a .385 average - his best at any NL park - with 33 RBIs in 29 visits to Coors.

Dillon Gee (0-2, 7.71) will start the opener for New York. He earned a 7-5 win in his only start against the Rockies on April 28, yielding four runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings. However, Gee allowed Tulowitzki to go 2 for 3.

The right-hander has a 6.86 ERA while losing four straight road starts. His latest performance away from New York was the shortest start of his career, as he surrendered seven runs and 10 hits - three homers - in three innings of last Tuesday's 8-3 loss to Philadelphia.

Jeff Francis (1-1, 5.87) gets the ball for Colorado in the second game. The left-hander beat the Padres 5-2 with strong six innings in his 2013 debut before getting roughed up at San Francisco in the shortest start of his career Wednesday.

Francis allowed seven runs - four earned - and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-0 loss. He's 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts against New York, with Wright going 6 for 13 with three homers in their matchups.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he had not yet decided on a starter for the nightcap, though it likely will be Aaron Laffey (0-0, 5.06) or Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.00).

Laffey made his New York debut April 7 and didn't receive a decision after giving up three runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Miami. The left-hander then pitched a scoreless inning of relief in Friday's 16-5 win over the Twins.

Hefner pitched well in his first start of the season but allowed five runs and six hits over three innings of a 7-3 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.

"Now, your pitching is drastically affected, along with your pitching down the line a little bit," Collins said. "... When you're scheduled to play in these two towns that we were in, you've got a chance to run into bad weather at this time of year and we have. We just adjust."

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