Mets due for cold streak, and it has nothing to do with hitting or pitching

Justin Turner stretches as snow falls before batting

Justin Turner stretches as snow falls before batting practice for a game against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. (April 12, 2013) (Credit: AP)

MINNEAPOLIS -- During his days as a minor-league shortstop in the 1970s, and later on in his earliest times in the dugout as a manager, Terry Collins endured his share of parka weather.

When he was a farmhand in the old Eastern League, he played in Quebec City, where resourceful fans discovered a way to watch games for free. They stood atop snowbanks tall enough to allow glances into the ballpark.

"I've played a lot of cold baseball," the Mets' manager said this weekend. "I've not played in 9 degrees. Ever."

But the Mets, scheduled to begin a four-game series in Denver against the Rockies Monday night, face the possibility of bone-chilling weather. Forecasts are calling for below-freezing temperatures and snowfall. For Wednesday night's game, forecasts had called for a low of 9 degrees -- a number that by Sunday had dipped to 6.

The Mets already have had one game on this road trip postponed. Sunday's game was not played as Minneapolis was bombarded with more cold temperatures and snow flurries.

It could be just the beginning of more weather woes that could cause havoc in the Mets' schedule.

The Mets announced that Sunday's game will be made up at 1:10 p.m. on Aug. 19, which had been a scheduled day off after a 10-game West Coast trip. That means the Mets will play 11 road games in 11 days, part of an overall stretch in which they're scheduled to play 33 times in 34 days.

More postponements could create more headaches. And if forecasts in Denver hold up this week, the Mets might need to scramble for makeup dates.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he already has inquired about the team's options in the event of more unplayable weather. There is precedent for shifting a series to another venue. In April 2007, when a snowstorm forced four postponements in Cleveland, the Indians moved the three-game set against the Angels to Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Alderson called the chances of a venue change "remote," though, making it more likely that the Mets and Rockies simply would reschedule lost games for a later date.

"Ultimately, it's the Rockies' call," Alderson said. "But look, there are interested parties, right? That would be Major League Baseball and the visiting team. So they would at least have the opportunity to voice their druthers."

Of course, there's also a chance that the point will be rendered moot.

"Colorado is notorious for weather changes," said Alderson, who recalled years ago pre-emptively canceling an exhibition game scheduled for a snow-covered Denver, only to watch the temperature rise to 70 degrees by what would have been first pitch.

For now, the Mets have reshuffled their starting rotation, though things could shift again with any postponements against the Rockies.

Originally slated to start Sunday against the Twins, righthander Dillon Gee instead will start Monday night against the Rockies.

The Mets could have skipped fifth starter Aaron Laffey on Tuesday, though they have elected to stick with him for what might be his final start. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, injured righthander Shaun Marcum has an outside chance of coming off the disabled list to start Sunday against the Nationals.

Jeremy Hefner now will start Wednesday -- expected to be the coldest night of the series -- which bumps lefty Jon Niese to Thursday's series finale against the Rockies.

In perhaps the most intriguing consequence of the chain reaction, Mets righthander Matt Harvey would be in line to face the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg on Friday night, bringing a matchup of rising pitching stars to Citi Field.

Weather permitting, of course.

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